'Avatar' Director James Cameron Stars in NASA Videos

Filmmaker JamesCameron, known forout-of-this-world science fiction movies like "Avatar" and"Aliens," gives a thumbs-up to NASA?s earth science programs in aseries of new videos.

The three videosmix scenes from Cameron's2009film "Avatar" ? which returns to select theaters this weekend?with photos and data from NASA satellites to describe how NASA'sEarth-scienceprogram has helped boost environmental awareness and exploration on ourhomeplanet.

"Avatar" is alargelycomputer-animated science fiction film about the tall, blue-skinnedinhabitantsof the lushmoon Pandora, which orbits a gas giant planet light-yearsfrom Earth. Withthe help of a former U.S. Marine, the aliens fend of human explorerswho aremining their world for a precious mineral.

"In 'Avatar,' weshowed you aplanet in peril," Cameron says in one of the spots, which began airingthisweek. "Here on Earth, our species is learning how to care for our home.NASA's eyes in space enable unparalleled insights into our planet'shealth."

"When NASAventures into space,it remembers to keep a steady eye on home," Cameron explains in anothervideo,each of which is about 75 seconds long. "Its fleet of Earth-orbitingsatellites constantly reveals our whole planet: its remotest places,itsmysteries and the powerful influence of humans."

The team-up ofNASA and Cameron hasdeep roots that began long before "Avatar," despite its themes ofenvironmental awareness, space exploration and alien life.

The filmmakerhas served on the NASAAdvisory Council, and metwith NASAAdministrator Charles Bolden in January todiscuss how to improve science education in theUnited States and engage the public in scientific exploration.

Cameron has alsospearheaded aneffort to add a 3-Dcamera for Mars toNASA's next rover ? the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity ? before itlaunchestoward the Red Planet in 2011.

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Space.com Staff
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