Analyze astronauts’ photos of Earth to predict climate change

Astronauts have been observing and documenting changes to our planet through photographs in pursuit of their mission of improving life both in space and on Earth. With the aid of computational predictive models and artificial intelligence, the color values from these images are now being analyzed by scientists to study and predict climate change.

This lesson plan introduces students to the seven biomes and their seasons using temperature and precipitation data. After exploring the attributes of their local biome, students learn the hexadecimal numbering system to develop an understanding of how computers represent color. Next, they work with photographs taken from the International Space Station and satellites to model seasonal color changes in a biome. Then they engage with machine learning and artificial intelligence modules to detect the season in the image. This helps them compare how humans verses computers see color before they manually predict climate change over time. Finally, they commit to taking social, political, environmental, or economic action in their own communities to protect our planet.

Materials developed in partnership with the NASA STEM on Station team.

Teacher resources