Observational science is theoretical, experimental and applied research related to oceanic, atmospheric, and terrestrial sciences. The ultimate goal of observational science is a better description of the world around us.
Observational science. A third branch of science (which can be considered a type of experimental science) is observational science. Often, it is not feasible to perform a controlled study of scientific phenomena. For example, an astronomer simply cannot travel to the distant stars, but must rely on collecting and interpreting the light from the cosmos. Similarly, Earth system scientists cannot control any system to observe the large-scale effects on other systems. Thus, observational science depends on seeing and watching less than manipulating or applying laws and principles.
As mentioned above, one of the key elements of NASA’s science is Earth System Science—observing Earth to better understand its processes and functions. NASA has developed a number of remote and in-situ sensing instruments which fly on aircraft, balloons, rockets and satellites at worldwide locations to observe Earth.
NASA also conducts laboratory and field measurements to validate remote sensing instruments.
Recent examples of observational science topics have included: