[vii] THE OVERALL PURPOSE OF THE Earth Resources Experiment Package (EREP) was to test the use of sensors that operated in the visible, infrared, and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum to monitor and study Earth resources. During the three Skylab manned missions, the astronauts operated the EREP sensors according to instructions from the EREP planning team in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. In this role, the crewmen were members of the scientific teams that performed Earth resources experiments. As a member of the Skylab 3 crew, I know that the part we played in the collection of these data for scientific study of the Earth was both fascinating and rewarding.
When the Earth is viewed from an altitude of 435 km (235 n. mi.), the multitude of features represented in many colors and tones are indicative of the complexity of processes and systems that are manifested on the Earth's surface. To understand these phenomena requires a synoptic view from space and sensors capable of obtaining high-resolution data in the appropriate parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. In reviewing the results of the EREP investigations summarized in this report, it is evident that major steps have been taken in developing a capability to conduct Earth science from space.
This document summarizes the analytical results of 139 investigators who used EREP data in their investigation of problems in the areas of agriculture, range, and forestry; land use and cartography; geology and hydrology; and oceans and atmosphere, and in their development of data analysis techniques. In future space exploration, the results of EREP will serve as a milestone for the development of an applications research technology for the study of Earth resources.