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True colour satellite image of the Earth showing Asia, half in shadow, with cloud coverage, and the sun. This image in orthographic projection was compiled from data acquired by LANDSAT 5 & 7 satellites., Globe Showing Asia, True Colour Satellite Image (Photo by Planet Observer/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

In his book Pale Blue Dot, legendary scientist Carl Sagan talked about humans' responsibility to "preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." Sagan's description of Earth is nothing short of inspirational, but if scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are correct in their findings, the dot won't be pale blue much longer.

The researchers found that climate change is significantly impacting phytoplankton—microscopic algae at the bottom of the aquatic food chain. While water molecules in the ocean don't absorb the blue spectrum of sunlight—reflecting it back and creating the appearance of a blue ocean instead—phytoplankton reflect green light, endowing phytoplankton-heavy areas with greener hues than other regions.

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