Most of us have seen the famous “Blue Marble” picture that was taken on December 7, 1972, by the astronauts on Apollo 17 as they were headed to the moon. The famous image, below, was taken with a hand-held camera just over five hours after launch, as the last manned lunar mission was about 2,800 miles from the Earth.
Image credit: NASA
NASA has now released an amazing new view of our planet. One that highlights the advances that we’ve made in observing the Earth’s weather and climate from the satellites that orbit our planet.
Credit: NASA Click here for a high-res image (16.4MB).
The image above is not a single image taken with a camera, but a series of images taken 512 miles above the planet by the newest Earth-observing satellite launched by NASA, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP).
Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 28, 2011, the satellite began making its first measurements in November as scientists tested the instruments. The image above was produced on Jan. 4 this year (an amazingly clear winter day across North America) by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), one of the five scientific instruments on board.
You may remember that on that day Western North Carolina had just seen snow at the higher elevations. You can see the cloud cover with that system moving toward the Northeast U.S.in the image above.
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And, from The Urantia Book:
15:14.9 Your planet is a member of an enormous cosmos; you belong to a well-nigh infinite family of worlds, but your sphere is just as precisely administered and just as lovingly fostered as if it were the only inhabited world in all existence.