[v] ON FEBRUARY 8, 1974, the final Skylab mission ended with the splashdown of the Skylab 4 astronauts in the Pacific Ocean. The scientific and technological achievements from the Skylab manned space program are numerous and include new knowledge of solar phenomena, of man's capability for long-duration space flight, and of the Earth through the sophisticated sensors that comprise the Earth Resources Experiment Package (EREP).
The EREP acquired thousands of photographs and several miles of magnetic tape in which Earth surface features and phenomena of selected regions on five continents and two major oceans were recorded. Some data showed plumes of erupting volcanoes, circular patterns of a major hurricane, contrasting colors of ocean eddies and upwellings, and growth patterns of metropolitan complexes, whereas other data contained information on vegetation patterns, geological terrain, landforms, snowfields, and icefields. Investigators in the United States and 28 other countries have analyzed these data, and the results of their investigations are summarized in the discipline sections herein.
The success of EREP was due to the dedication and talents of many people in NASA, industry, and the scientific community. It remains, however, for the Earth scientists, design engineers, resource managers, and data analysts to capitalize on the EREP results to improve our future capability to monitor the Earth's dynamic systems from space and to effectively use and conserve our natural resources.