NASA is offering people the chance to 'adopt' their very own piece of Earth, having sectioned off the planet into 64,000 individual segments that are up for adoption right now.

The virtual adoption drive – which you can take part in here – is the space agency's way of observing Earth Day 2017, which is coming up on April 22.

Earth Day is an annual event designed to raise public awareness of environmental issues, and frankly there's never been a better time to become a custodian of our precious blue orb, even if it's only in a virtual capacity.

While NASA's adoption process is purely metaphorical – with no strings or legal ownership attached – the fact of the matter is that the planet desperately needs a caregiver to look after it.

There are some pretty scary things happening on the planet at the moment.

Stuff like: CO2 emissions are threatening to send the climate back to conditions not seen since the Triassic Period; that the Great Barrier Reef is now 'terminal'; and that most primate species on the planet are staring down extinction.

In the face of events like this, NASA is pretty much saying it thinks Earth needs some responsible new parents – and you, my friend, look like you're perfectly equipped to do the job.

If you simply provide your name here, the space agency will randomly designate one of 64,000 locations on Earth to your virtual care.

Once you've signed up, you'll be given your virtual adoption certificate for your unique, numbered patch of turf (or, more likely, water), with the ability to view a range of NASA data about your location, such as temperature, vegetation, and atmospheric details.

You can view your adopted spot on NASA's Worldview satellite imagery service, plus explore other parts of the planet.

I got a pretty blue (read: entirely water-filled) expanse of the South Pacific. To be honest, I was kind of hoping for some solid land mass to virtually nurture, but hey, water's a pretty important thing, right? In any case, Earth adopters can't be choosers.


NASA says each adopted location is about 88 kilometres (55 miles) wide, and the ultimate goal is to get every one of these individual pieces of Earth adopted before Earth Day on April 22.

So why not take a punt? You might learn something!

Of course, taking part in a virtual adoption drive won't in itself do anything to make the world a better place… but if it gets people thinking about the environment around us and our unintended impacts upon it, it certainly can't be a bad thing.