"Asked to name the three things he would rather have more
than anything else in the world, man would probably first
say riches and the other two, more
riches, which shows how little man knows what's good
for him. If he had no air he would die in a few
seconds, if he had no water he would die of thirst in a few
days, and if there were no land he could have no food and
would slowly die of starvation. But all three of these
working together in the sunshine produce everything the
richest man in the world can possess: food, clothing,
forests, and all the living creatures on earth. Leave
out any one of the three and the other two are powerless to
keep us alive."
- Jay N. "Ding" Darling
Air is also fundamental to our daily lives in
many ways - the carrier of our weather, and the carrier of
nutrients we all need to survive. Air also protects us from
the dangers of solar radiation by screening out the most
powerful (and dangerous) light rays.
Beyond adding variety to our daily lives,
weather provides the variety needed to ensure the survival of
life. Plants typically live in just one place their entire
lives and rely on the air to bring nutrients and water to
them. While animals are much more mobile, animals could not
survive without plants and weather enables animals to survive
while living in just one place.
Animals breathe air to gather oxygen, while
plants "breathe" air to gather carbon dioxide and
water vapor during the daytime and at night to gather
(Read more ...)
Weather can be unpredictable
and powerful. Thunderstorms like this one provide awesome
displays of the energy in earth's atmosphere.
Oceans, rivers, and lakes are the largest
reservoirs of water that we see, but water is literally
everywhere - from the air we breathe to the ground upon which
Critical to all forms of life on earth, water
is a basic building block of life, providing energy for some
organisms, and homes for others. Water can be found in
abundance in all three phases - solid (ice and snow), liquid
(what we typically call water), and gas (water vapor).
Water has shaped the earth through erosion,
flooding and glaciation. A balance must be struck with water -
too much water leads to flooding and may wash away all our
homes and food, not enough water and we might perish for
thirst and watch our crops wither.
Explore with us the wonders of water and how
our activities are impacting water everywhere... (Read more!)
This stream represents a home
for fish, water for wildlife, and a transport route for
Floating atop giant "tectonic"
plates, are the livable regions of the earth - land. Seven
continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe,
North America and South America - comprise the largest land
masses on earth and along with many, smaller islands.
Land is ultimately composed of many things, but at its most
basic its composed of rocks, minerals and soil.
Rocks are aggregations of minerals and
minerals are composed of elements or chemical combinations of
elements. There are three varieties of rocks -
sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic - named for the way in
which they are formed.
Soil is far more than dirt (which is really
just soil somewhere we wish it weren't) - soil is the place
where intricate chemical reactions occur making possible
the nourishment of higher order plants. In most places a
relatively thin layer of soil covers rock from which it was
originally formed. Soil is nothing more than rocks that
have been ground into a "powder" - typically by
Find out more about the land under our feet
... (Read more!)
From mountains (top) to the
ocean shore (bottom) land is integral to the survival of man and
many other species.
In the immortal words of Star Trek -
"Space is the Final Frontier." Here we use the term
space to mean everything beyond planet Earth and its
planets, stars, comets and everything in between. Stars
provide us with nightly evidence that there is more to life
than those places we can and have visited. During the daytime
the light from our nearest star - the sun - is so bright we
can only see the closest stellar objects like our moon.
However at nighttime we can see thousands more dots of light.
These stars have been the source of myth and valuable
navigational aids through-out history.
Space and the stars continues to provide us
with more questions than answers. To study space is to study
history - as often the light we are seeing has already
traveled hundreds or even thousands of years before it reaches
Begin to unravel the mysteries of space ...
Space can be more amazing than
either our imaginations or any artist's palette as this image
(captured by the Hubble telescope) demonstrates.
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