The Earth under the Microscope in Deutsches Museum
The Earth under the microscope in Deutsches Museum
“The Earth under the Microscope” is a science communication experiment compiled by scientists engaged in research with Earth Observation/Remote Sensing, Artificial Intelligence, Sustainable Agriculture, Ethics, and state-of-the-art Science Communication. The core team of scientists is from the German Aerospace Center, the Technical University of Munich and Helmholz AI. Two members from the core team of scientists, namely, Stella Ofori-Ampofo (PhD Studentin, Artificial Intelligence in Earth Observation) and Mrinalini Kochupillai (Professor for Ethics in AI4EO) are from the AI4EO Future Lab and the Chair of Data Science in Earth Observation, TUM and they provide us the below report of this exciting project.
The “Earth under the Microscope” project is funded by the Munich Science Communication Lab and brought to the public (experts and non-experts) in the form of an exhibition in the Deutsches Museum that will continue throughout January (possibly extendable to February 2023).
“Earth under the Microscope” provides a bird’s eye perspective of agriculture on Earth and associated challenges such as food security and sustainability. The audience is invited to look at Earth from a distance, and from space (especially satellite images) to help them get an overview of current global challenges and how, in their own way, they can make a difference to the world around them.
Although the “microscope” is an element in the exhibition that is introduced only in the last week, the audience can already immerse themselves in the data and get a feeling of holding the Earth in their palms with the help of online resources accessible at the exhibition via a QR code. Once the physical “microscope” (VR glasses) is made available to the visitors, they can also experience how Earth and its problems “shrink” into their hands. The microscope and the exhibition provide an immersive experience that helps visitors think about important questions such as “how can I support food security and sustainable agriculture?” or “how do scientists obtain an overview of what is growing where on the planet and what the immediate challenges are?”
The “microscope” (installed since 23.01.23) will also allow visitors to explore three data stories (linked to satellite data). The “wheels” of the microscope allow the user to move forward in the data story, which is viewed with the help of VR goggles. In the words of Tobias Beuchert, the exhibition lead, “The exhibition is designed to offer statistics and information in the beginning, then see how EO data can be used to derive these information and eventually pathways of action are discussed. The idea is that when being able to “hold the Earths in their hands” or to take on the birds eye perspective by looking at EO data, it is easier to adopt the feeling that one can actually contribute to change.”