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Earth science encompasses four main areas of study; geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy. Each of these areas influence life on Earth in different ways. Astronomy, sometimes called space science, is the study of things outside of the Earth's atmosphere, such as other planets, stars, the sun and moon, and other solar systems. Space and Earth science are related in numerous ways, primarily in regards to planetary temperature and ocean tides. Asteroids and other space debris can further influence life on Earth when they enter the atmosphere.
Life on Earth does not occur in a vacuum. The relationship between space and Earth science is critical for the support of animals and vegetation. For example, the seasons are determined according to Earth's location along its orbital path around the Sun. Likewise, days and nights are determined by Earth's rotation on its axis. Without light and energy from the Sun, mankind would not have the ability to grow crops, raise livestock, or even survive in certain geographic areas.
Similarly, space and Earth science are further connected because the moon influences ocean tides. As the Earth spins, it creates a centrifugal force that directly competes with the moon's gravitational pull. High tide and low tide are determined by where the Earth is in its daily rotation, compared to the gravitational pull of the moon. When an area of the Earth is directly in line with the moon, either gravitational pull from the moon or the centrifugal force of the Earth creates high tide, depending on which side of the planet faces the moon. Other areas experience low tide during this same time.
Relationships between space and Earth science are again seen when asteroids come close to Earth, or when meteorites strike land. Scientists believe a large meteorite was responsible for the extinction of much of prehistoric life, including dinosaurs. Many more believe that the likelihood of another large meteorite striking Earth is high. Questions regarding the possible size of such a meteor and its affect on life on Earth are numerous, encompassing an entire sub-specialty of space science.
Researchers and scientists typically study astronomy to gain a deeper understanding of how space and Earth science relate. By understanding how celestial bodies, planets, gravity, and other forces influence regional climates, the weather, ocean tides, and similar aspects of life on Earth, scientists can predict changes and major events that will affect mankind. Astronomers, geologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers typically share information learned to further expand man's understanding of how the Earth works and how it fits into the Universe.
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