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Watch: Our Living Planet From Space

Life makes Earth unique among the thousands of other planets we’ve discovered so far – there may be extraterrestrial life, or maybe notNotes 1, but it is the only “living planet” that we know of. Since 1997Notes 2, NASA satellites have continuously observed all plant life at the surface of the land and ocean. This view of life from space is furthering knowledge of our home planet, and how it’s changing.

In the Northern Hemisphere, ecosystems wake in the spring, taking in carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen as they sprout leaves – and a fleet of Earth-observing satellites track the spread of vegetation. Meanwhile, in the oceans, microscopic plants drift through sunlit surface waters blooming into billions of carbon-dioxide-absorbing, oxygen-producing organisms – and satellites map the swirls of their color.
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