Stoney’s British Pub
3007 Concord Pike
Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania
“Remote Sensing: The Earth's Increasingly Helpful Physician”
In 1858, combining the inventions of the camera and the hot air balloon, French photographer and balloonist, Gaspar Felix Tournachon, revealed our world from a perspective never seen before—from above. As airplanes and then satellites took to the skies, and photographic technology improved rapidly over the last century and a half, the black and white photos of the early days evolved into the detailed, beautiful and informative microwave, multispectral, and hyperspectral “remote sensing” images of today. These images now give us much more than a new perspective, they help us to detect oil spills, determine soil moisture content, monitor vegetation growth, ﬁnd mineral ores, observe ocean circulation, ﬁnd ancient archeological sites, determine how much Earth shifted in an earthquake, and so much more. These observations act, to some degree, as the Earth’s physician, monitoring its health and helping to indicate potential paths to sustainability for Earth and its parasite, humans. This talk will explore some of these monitoring systems and what they’re telling us about Earth’s health today.