Making measurements from the space and looking to the skies has hugely enhanced our understanding of the Earth, it’s surface processes and its movement in space. This short episode of GeoCinema Online takes you through some of the great technological developments in the Earth and planetary sciences!
Looking Down a Well: A Brief History of Geodesy
Geodesy is a field of study that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth, and it all started with something as simple as looking down a well. Over time, the field of geodesy has expanded and evolved dramatically. It now involves radio telescopes, ground surveys and satellites. This video gives a great overview of geodesy and how our measurement techniques have evolved over time.
Using Quasars to Measure the Earth: A Brief History of VLBI
VLBI, or Very Long Baseline Interferometry, uses multiple radio telescopes to make precise measurements of the Earth’s orientation. It was originally invented to take better pictures of quasars, but scientists soon found out that if you threw the process in reverse, you could measure how the ground beneath the telescopes moved around, how long days really are, and how the Earth wobbles on its axis as it revolves around the sun!
Eyes on the Skies
The invention of the telescope was a revolutionary development in astronomy, dramatically increasing our understanding of outer space. This film takes us on a journey of the telescope’s history: from the technological breakthroughs and scientific discoveries to successes and failures of the people involved in its invention. While we don’t have the full film, the first chapter is certainly worth investigating – you can take a peek on the Hubble website.
Looking Down a Well: A Brief History of Geodesy: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (source)
Using Quasars to Measure the Earth: A Brief History of VLBI: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (source)
Eyes on the Skies: ESA (source)