We denizens of the Blue Marble cannot get enough of our Mother Earth from space, and that goes for NASA as well.
It was, after all, that first shot of Earthrise in 1972 that caught the world’s attention and helped spark the environmental movement.
Adding to the numerous snapshots of this precious little bobble we call home are a new video and more images, each more amazing than the previous ones. The current crop, released in mid-December, come to us from the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), a new space weather mission from NOAA that also carries NASA instruments to keep an eye on Earth, says the space agency in a statement. “Parked” about a million miles from Earth, where the gravity of both sun and Earth cancel one another out, the observatory has a camera that can “capture full sunlit disk images of Earth in one picture all at the same instant from sunrise to sunset (synoptic images),” according to NASA’s statement. This enables DSCOVR to see what humans can’t.
“It can see massive dust clouds moving from the Sahara Desert to the southern U.S. and Central America,” said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in a statement. “And it can see smoke from large forest fires in remote northern Canada where nobody keeps an eye out.”
Images are taken daily by NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), which “lives onboard” DISCOVR and are posted at NASA 12 to 36 hours after being taken, according to Space.com, which also noted the many other scientific observations that the new equipment make possible.
Around the same time, NASA released another Earthrise photo,
The video released on December 14 at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting is so spectacular, and telling, that it even got noticed by President Barack Obama.
“Just got this new blue marble photo from @NASA,” Obama tweeted, according to Space.com. “A beautiful reminder that we need to protect the only planet we have.”