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Astronaut images of a tropical cyclone, island and surrounding coral reef, glacier, and impact crater.

As you participate in Expedition Earth and Beyond, you are encouraged to ask questions that you can investigate and answer by making observations of astronaut imagery.

SAMPLE PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS FOR AN EEAB INVESTIGATION
Here is a list of questions that focus on features that are VISIBLE in astronaut imagery. These preliminary questions are EXAMPLE QUESTIONS of what you might consider investigating:

HURRICANES:
  • Do the visible cloud bands in a hurricane change as a hurricane strengthens or weakens? If yes, how do they change?
  • How does the eye of a hurricane change as the strength of a hurricane increases?
  • What is the average percent of change in the size of a hurricane from when it is first categorized as a hurricane to its maximum strength? Are these size changes noticeable in astronaut imagery?

CORAL REEFS:
  • What is the most common shape of coral reefs in images taken by astronauts in space?
  • In looking at separate individual reefs visible in astronaut photos, what is the range of area represented by these separate reefs? Are there any noticeable patterns?

GLACIERS:
  • Based on observations made of astronaut images, do glaciers in different parts of South America share similar characteristics?
  • What types of changes are occurring to 5 specific glaciers found in South America?

IMPACT CRATERS:
  • Is there a relationship between crater diameter and crater age?


INTERESTING PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS...BUT....
There are numerous questions that can be asked the different features you might see in astronaut images. The questions below are all interesting questions, BUT...these questions can all be answered by doing a simple internet search. For this reason, although they are good questions....they are not suitable questions for an Expedition Earth and Beyond (EEAB) research investigation.
  • Why do hurricanes form?
  • What is the difference between a hurricane, cyclone, and typhoon?
  • What are coral reefs?
  • How do glaciers form?
  • How do impact craters form?


WANT AN ASTRONAUT TO TAKE PICTURES OF EARTH FROM SPACE FOR YOUR TEAM?
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Astronaut taking image of Earth from space.
One of the main reasons we encourage you to use astronaut imagery as part of your investigation and data collection is because we can allow you to put in a request for new astronaut imagery to be taken on your team's behalf. If you don't show the use of this type of data, your request for new astronaut imagery would not make sense and probably couldn't be justified.


You may want to ask a question that uses astronaut imagery as well as other data. Most scientists use many different types of data as they conduct their research. If you are a beginning researchers, start off with an investigation you and your classmates feel you can handle. A "simple" and focused research question is much better than a broad, complicated question.