The Human Presence: Of all the forms of life on this planet, only humans have the ability to transform large areas of the earth. At least half the planet’s surface has been altered by human activity as we continue to grow food and build structures. From our physical impact on the land to the lights that brighten our cities, the human presence is plainly visible from space.
How satellites help us: Satellite imagery can be used to provide images of densely populated areas for use in urban planning. Patterns of changing land cover are also clearly visible from orbit. In addition, satellites can monitor pollution and other consequences of human activity that can disrupt regional ecosystems.