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Chapter 1: MS What is Earth Science?

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Earth Science is all about the Earth: its land, its water, its atmosphere. It’s about Earth’s resources and about the impacts human activities are having on all of those things: the land, water, and atmosphere. Earth Science is even about the vastness that surrounds the planet: the solar system, galaxy, and universe. So can we say Earth Science is about everything? Well, not really, but it is a science that encompasses an awful lot.

Note the word science in that last sentence. Earth Science is a science, or maybe it’s made up of a lot of sciences. But what is science? Most people think of science as a bunch of knowledge. And it is. But science is also a way of knowing things. It’s different from other ways of knowing because it is based on a method that relies on observations and data. Science can’t say how many angels can dance on the end of a pin because that question can’t be tested. In fact, science can’t even say if there are such things as angels for the same reason. For something to be science, it must be testable. And scientists are the people who do those tests.

Phalinn Ooi (Flickr:phalinn). www.flickr.com/photos/phalinn/8731539212/. CC BY 2.0.

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