"The Ultimate Field Trip: An Astronaut's View of Earth" Sullivan, Kathryn D. (2001)

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"The Ultimate Field Trip: An Astronaut's View of Earth"
Kathryn D. Sullivan (2001)

URL: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/people/astronotes.html (click link)

SITE SUMMARY: Sullivan, a mission specialist astronaut in the U.S. Space Program, was a veteran of two space flights at the time she wrote this document. In this document, she gives her reasons for becoming an astronaut, then describes what astronauts (especially mission specialists) do, what is marvelous about her profession, and what astronauts can see when they are in outer space.


  1. Sullivan said "my role as a Mission Specialist aboard the Space Shuttle gives me two exciting avenues for exploration on each mission." Identify what she said she does with reference to the first avenue, then the second avenue, and then how she compares both avenues.
  2. Why did Sullivan say, "There's also great responsibility here?" What must be done, when, how, and why? What do astronauts also train themselves to do and why? Explain why and how her statement and explanations are good ways to approach and do any profession, especially a science profession, and its various aspects.
  3. Sullivan left her profession as a marine geologist to become an astronaut. Why did she say she did that? (Hints: See your answer that refers to the second avenue in Question/Activity no. 1 above; then note Sullivan's comments, including the words "In my case," and "In my mind.") Choose a science profession you might like to pursue or find out about. Apply Sullivan's comments with reference to the ways you would work in this profession. (Note: If possible, suggest applications of her comments with reference to your "chosen profession" in connection with your being an astronaut. For help, keep Sullivan's essay in mind, and see the Web site for the NASA Astronaut Selection Home Page whose Web site summary and url are in the Related Internet Sites section of this book's chapter on "First Educator Mission Specialist Astronaut Named.")
  4. Read the descriptions titled "Kathryn Sullivan's Hometown," "Well-Known Peninsula," and "Namib Desert." Visit the Web sites Earth from Space—Astronauts' Views of the Home Planet—A Database of Selected Imagery, and NASA Biography—Kathryn D. Sullivan. (Their urls are cited in the Related Internet Sites section below.) Find, then describe, as if you are seeing them from space, some natural geographical features. (Be sure to choose some things that were photographed from a shuttle in which Sullivan worked, including, for example, something in the region where you live, in a region that your family claims as its ethnic heritage area, and two features or places, including one well known and one that is interesting.) (Tip: Include the names, numbers, and flight dates of the space shuttles whose astronauts took photographs.) (Hint: To find out on which shuttles Sullivan was a crew member, visit the Web page with the NASA Astronaut Biography—Kathryn D. Sullivan. Its url is cited in the Related Internet Sites section below.)


NASA Astronaut Biography—Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., 1992


Earth from Space—Astronauts' Views of the Home Planet—A Database of Imagery


The Johnson Space Center provides here "a database of selected astronaut acquired imagery of Earth." Searches can be by earth landscapes (e.g., reef, island, mountains), water habitats, weather, distinctive features (e.g., Assateague Island, Amazon River, Baja Peninsula), and geographic regions (e.g., a nation, large body of water, or specific areas such as USA-NY), among others. Choose the topic, select Thumbnail [small photo] + Text, then click search. Read the caption and then select Technical Information to read data on natural features, noting the shuttle whose astronauts photographed it and when.

FAQs and Fact Sheets at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov (scroll to, and click, the links in the left column)

NASA's Johnson Space Center, Office of Earth Sciences, provides technical questions and answers on these special photographs and how to interpret them, plus fact sheets on research and photography in space. The FAQs area provides links to questions and answers on these photographs in specific topic categories such as resolution and remote sensing, research and development, a descriptive database, and other topics. The fact sheets area provides links to information on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station Earth Observation Photography, Crew Earth Observations, and Earth Science Research from the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

Remote Sensing Data and Information—Table of Contents


This Web site provides links to a remote sensing archives, plus remote sensing data involving earth images from space, space and astronomy, weather and climate, specific instruments such as the Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite (GOES) and Landsat, plus organizations and projects, and miscellaneous (e.g., a Satellite Situation Center and Employment Opportunities).

The Remote Sensing Core Curriculum


This Web site provides five volumes, including an introduction, to Photo Interpretation and Photogrammetry, Overview of Remote Sensing of the Environment, Introductory Digital Image Processing, Applications in Remote Sensing, and K-12 Education. Note also the links listed under Remote Sensing Resources and the curriculum goal via the link for Educating Tomorrow's Technology Leaders.

Land Remote Sensing Policy Act (1992)—U.S. Code, Title 15, Chapter 82


See links to twenty-six sections including findings, definitions, archiving of data, Landsat Program management, data policy, conditions for operation, technology demonstration program, future considerations, and notes. Also accessible at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode by clicking the link for Title 15, then the link for Chapter 82.

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"The Ultimate Field Trip: An Astronaut's View of Earth" Sullivan, Kathryn D. (2001)