Earth is the fourth planet from the Sun and just the sole cosmic object known to host life, and indeed support it. About 29.2 percent of Earth’s surface is water consisting of oceans and continents. This constitutes the bulk of the planet and is therefore extremely important in terms of our ability to live and exists on. It is the source of fresh water, the oceans’ food supply and has the atmosphere necessary for plant development.
Astronomy can tell us about the earth – how the seasons form around it, how the continents separate and which direction the sun moves through, how fast it rotates (i.e. day/night, hourly or daily), how much of the surface is covered by water, what colour the clouds are (red, blue or green), and many other details. By studying the data returned by amateur astronomers and by NASA’s satellites, we also learn about the composition and structure of the earth. Studying the positioning and motions of celestial objects (including comets, comings, prot galaxies, etc) allows us to study earth at a closer physical level. Studying the distribution of celestial elements with telescopes (radio, optical, infrared or gamma-ray) gives us detailed information about the earth and its climate.
Because the earth orbits the sun, it gets hit by space debris. One of the main reasons this happens is because of our planet’s orientation. The tilt of our planet allows almost all of the inner space debris to be hit into polar regions, while the outlying areas receive little if any material. While none of this space debris is detrimental to the earth, it does affect it in one way: it absorbs heat, emitting radiation.
This heat is emitted from the earth’s surface as long as it remains within the gravitational field of the earth. There is a large portion of space debris that circles the earth, and while it cannot cause serious damage to the earth, it can still slow down the earth’s rotation. This will eventually cause more ice to form and will cause our ice caps to melt. A decrease in the earth’s ability to collect solar heat will also affect our weather patterns.
The formation of ice caps and decreased rainfall are directly related to the earth’s orbital position. It is possible that changing the tilt of the earth would counteract these effects. This is one of the reasons why some feel that re-selling off old oil reserves is a good idea. By placing the majority of the world’s oil on eye level, it would be much easier for it to collect the needed solar heat, and re-circulate it back into the atmosphere.
If our knowledge of the earth’s location and orbit changes was better, we could make use of this information to save the earth from space debris. We may even be able to use this information to prevent more space debris from hitting the earth. We currently rely on space weather to predict severe weather events, and this has led to the development of many severe weather forecasting tools. However, we may also use this knowledge to better predict extreme weather events. By gathering satellite data on the earth, we would be able to better pinpoint areas that face problems with severe weather, and then take all the necessary precautions before these regions become hit by these storms.