NASA Puts the Planet Up for Adoption in Time for Earth Day

Tesseract2 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Tesseract2 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0 / Tesseract2 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re looking to feel a deeper connection to the planet you call home, NASA has good news. As reports, the space agency is putting Earth up for adoption one 55-mile-wide section at a time.

The project launched on April 6 in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22. Unlike other programs that invite you to symbolically adopt a panda or a star, this process doesn’t require a donation. Just type in your name and NASA will assign you one of 64,000 adoptable locations that cover the globe. The areas are divided into hexagonal tiles, each accompanied by Earth science data gathered on NASA missions. “With instruments in orbit, scientists get data for the entire planet in detail that they can't get anywhere else,” NASA states on the webpage. After receiving their block, users can click on the Explore Map link to take a more in-depth look at it from NASA’s Worldview tool. NASA writes:

“In Worldview you will be able to view images that highlight the amount of vegetation on land or view air quality measurements. You can see how far air pollution and soot from fires or volcanoes have traveled from land to the ocean or how much sea ice is present in the Arctic and Antarctic.”

Each section of Earth comes with a personalized certificate for the adopter to download. But the virtual arrangement won’t stay exclusive for long: If NASA cycles through all 64,000 locations, they’ll go through the list again for anyone who missed out the first time.

[h/t Smithsonian]