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There is a lot to be learned from a view of Earth from space; the difficult part is translating that information into something that is useful and applicable to the problems we’re facing on the ground. Benjamin Koetz is a scientist with the European Space Agency who spends his days monitoring Earth from space and determining how best to apply what he’s learning to solve practical issues.

For instance, he is able to identify dramatic changes correlated with the death of crops due to lack of rainfall in certain geographical regions, compare these changes over time, and use this information in food security intervention efforts, such as by informing farmers of specific irrigation needs. Among other topics, Koetz discusses observation techniques, the effects of climate change, environmental trends that are identifiable from space, and the long-term goals of his work.

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