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Friday, October 4, 2013

North Reading Middle School -- Oct. 5

42° 34' 36" N
71° 05' 17" W

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EarthView returns to North Reading today, on the 56th anniversary of the Soviet satellite Sputnik. This small, simple satellite could do nothing more than send a simple "ping" message back to the surface, but the fact that the Soviet Union was able to launch it before the United States energized the space program under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, eventually leading to human exploration of the moon.

Many of the tools that were developed as part of the space program are now used by geographers to learn more about the earth itself. These include earth-exploration programs such as LANDSAT, which monitors land use and conditions on a regular basis. It is also the basis for Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and for Google Maps and many other web sites that show what the earth looks like from above.

During some of the EarthView sessions today, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan described his visits with students to Cerro Negro and to the nearby volcanic islands in Lake Nicaragua. These islands are formed in a very unusual way, as each is a small piece of a large flow of lava from the nearby volcano Mombacho. Zoom out to see the relationship between the islands and the volcano. Zoom in to see the houses that occupy many of the islands. Some are the humble homes of people who earn their living fishing in Lake Nicaragua, while others are the vacation homes of some of the wealthiest families in Central America.

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Learn much more from our volcano roundup post.

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