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NASA app puts the spotlight on climate change

A new iPad app released as part of NASA's Global Climate Change education program highlights environmental damage with before and after photos.

A new iPad app released as part of NASA's Global Climate Change education program highlights environmental damage with before and after photos.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

NASA is pretty serious about climate change. The space agency has been running a website about the phenomenon since 2008, where it collates news, research, photos and educational resources for understanding, and fighting, climate change.

A new app for iPad called Images of Change — named after a similar section on the website — uses interactive before-and-after photos taken from NASA's archive to highlight the damage done to the environment by a number of factors, whether it be natural disasters, human intervention or the changing climate. Taken around the world, the photos can be anywhere from decades to just a few years apart and demonstrate the drastic effects these events can have on the landscape.

"Images of Change gives users an astronaut's or Earth explorer's view of the changes occurring on our planet and demonstrates the important role NASA plays in contributing to the long-term understanding of Earth," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington. "By utilising ground-based and space-based observation systems, we are able to better understand how humans are contributing to a changing world."

Using a slider, the user can watch the landscape change right before their eyes, overlaying one photo on another. The photos are organised into categories, such as fire damange, extreme events and human impact, and information is provided about what you're seeing in the picture so you can better understand how climate change is affecting our planet.

You can grab the app for free from the iTunes App Store.