By Neeraj Bhushan
Do you know our Earth didn’t appear blue in NASA’s first satellite images! But times have changed. Look at this “Blue Marble 2012” – as NASA (US government’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration) calls it and claims it to be the most amazing high definition image of Earth so far.
Earth as a ‘Blue Marble’ was first snapped by the crew of Apollo 17 in 1972 and that image has always been one of the most famous photos ever taken, for we all then suddenly saw the world in a much different way.
In the years since, the space agency has added many blue marble laurels to its credit, of course with technology enhancing and sharpening the so difficult to take images. And as the latest photo is released, NASA says it’s the most amazing high definition image of Earth.
This latest image, being put here courtesy NASA, was taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard the space agency’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite — Suomi NPP. The composite image offering a detailed view of North and Central America, is one in a long line of ‘Blue Marble’ shots since the original was taken by the Apollo 17 crew in 1972.
Also, it has been assembled from image data captured from a number of swaths of Earth’s surface on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed “Suomi NPP” on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin, who is considered the father of satellite meteorology.
The satellite, launched on October 28, 2011, is collecting data for forecasting weather and helping scientists better understand climate change. Interestingly, everyone knows that NASA studies space; but fewer people know that NASA also studies Earth.
Actually, since the agency’s creation almost 50 years ago, this agency has been a world leader in space-based studies of our home planet. It operates 18 of the most advanced Earth-observing satellites ever built, helping scientists make some of the most detailed observations ever made of our world.
Below you can also see the “Blue Marble 2000” which combined data from multiple satellites and applied colour schemes to give an approximation of what was really occurring.
And you may also find below, the iconic image that NASA identified as ‘Blue Marble 1972’ that shows Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Malagasy Republic, as snapped by the Apollo 17 crew while they were on their way to the moon.