Minimize NASA Earth Observatory Team

NASA Earth Observatory


The communication of EO (Earth Observation) mission data and the presentation of research results to the science community itself, as well as to the global EO community, is an important aspect of NASA's EO Team over the past two decades. NASA's Earth Observatory’s mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about the environment, Earth systems, and climate that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and models.

Earth observation is by its very nature event driven due to an ever changing environment, thus requiring frequent update information. The goal of the EO Team is to communicate the breadth of NASA's Earth science research, from understanding the long-term climate and environment issues to timely natural events. The presentations of the observed imagery from space with lots of cross-references and background information are inspiring due to their general aspects of overview and insight. A picture is worth a thousand words - meaning that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description. — In view of the many missions orbiting planet Earth, it takes a lot of work and dedication to keep all parties informed.

In 1999, the NASA Earth Observatory was started providing the service on a regular basis (daily and weakly) with Kevin Ward as team leader. 1) The service has grown considerably over the years and is of great value to the EO community. The eoPortal of ESA is a longtime customer and beneficiary of these services, integrating the news stories into its mission-based documentation format of updates, thus providing an extended overview for a global user community. Some missions operate for a few years, others experience already problems on deployment or they encounter problems while in operation; still other missions provide an observing service for decades.

The status updates of the eoPortal represent helpful services for the users and the availability of the mission descriptions on the eoPortal has a lasting effect.


Figure 1: Communicating NASA Earth Science with team leader Kevin Ward. Ward and the Earth Observatory team celebrating EO’s 20th anniversary in 2019. From left to right: Kathryn Hansen, Joshua Stevens, Lauren Dauphin, Kasha Patel, Paul Przyborski, Kevin Ward, Adam Voiland, and Michael Carlowicz (image credit: NASA, Rob Levy) 2)

1) ”About the Earth Observatory,” NASA, URL:

2) Andi Brinn Thomas, ”Communicating NASA Earth Science With Kevin Ward,” NASA People, 9 September 2020, URL:

The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (

References    Back to top