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Piloting a Modern-Day Time Machine
Who Are NASA's Earth Explorers?

The elementary school student wondering how El Niño will affect tomorrow's weather. The scientist studying connections between ozone and climate change. And the farmer using satellite pictures to keep track of crops. All of these people are Earth Explorers -- they are all curious about the Earth system. This series will introduce you to NASA Earth Explorers, young and old, with many backgrounds and interests.

Mark Chandler

Mark Chandler is a geoscientist -- a scientist who studies Earth. He studies past climates to see what Earth's future climate may be. Image Credit: Mark Chandler

Mark Chandler liked dinosaur bones when he was a child. He looked for them in the rocks near his home.

Mark did not think about a job in science until college. Then he took a class about Earth. He knew what he wanted to do. So he signed up to dig for dinosaurs in South Dakota. It was a lot of fun.

Mark loved science, but he thought his math classes were hard. "It seems silly," he says, "since I now realize that math is just another tool to learn to use." He uses math all the time now.

Learning math and science in school is good. Mark says doing science is also good. Doing science shows you how to use what you learn in school out in the real world. Working outside digging up dinosaur bones helped Mark learn how amazing our Earth is.

Mark used to work in Colorado. He wondered about climate change. Climate is what the weather is like over a long time. There are rocks in Colorado from a desert that used to be there. Deserts are very dry. Today, the place has water and green plants. Mark wanted to know how the place could have changed so much.

Mark was able to find out when he went to work for NASA. He collected a lot of facts about the area. There were more facts than Mark could understand by himself. So he loaded the facts into a computer. The computer's results helped him understand why the area changed. They showed him what Colorado was like long ago.

Looking at the past helps scientists make guesses about the future. Earth may be very different in the future. If the climate changes a lot, it could be bad for humans.

Mark says people can make smart guesses about Earth's future climate. We can figure out how to change our lives when the climate changes. We also can do something to make sure things do not change too much.

Mark reminds students, "Be interested in the world around you." Science will help you answer your questions.

Related Resources:
› Climate Kids   →
› What Is Climate Change?
› Earth Explorers Series

Brandi Bernoskie/Institute for Global Environmental Strategies