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Saving the Earth by Exploring the Stars
In our finale Earth Optimism webinar of 2022, find out how going to space has helped improve life on Earth! Ellen Stofan will explore how satellite observations and other space technologies are transforming our view of Earth, and yielding new insights for keeping our home planet sustainable. Stofan is a planetary geologist who served as the first female director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the former Chief Scientist for NASA. She now serves as the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Science and Research.


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Ellen Stofan
Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science and Research @Smithsonian Institution
Ellen Stofan is the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science and Research. She oversees its science research centers, National Museum of Natural History and National Zoo. Her focus is the Smithsonian’s scientific initiatives, especially addressing biodiversity, global health, climate change, species conservation, astrophysics and the search for life beyond our solar system. Previously, Stofan was the director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (2018–2021), where she was the first woman to hold that position. She also served as chief scientist at NASA (2013–2016). She helped guide development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it shifts from the International Space Station to sending humans to the moon and Mars. Her favorite mission was Cassini, primarily due to her interest in Saturn's moon Titan. Photo: Jim Preston, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM2018-01471)