In celebration of Earth Day, NASA released a breathtaking gallery of some of the most incredible images of our planet ever taken. The images were captured from a variety of sources including satellites, research modules and astronauts onboard the International Space Station.
Below you will find highlights from the jaw-dropping 76-image gallery. For more visit Nasa.gov
A ‘Blue Marble’ image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite – Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed ‘Suomi NPP’ on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi.
An Expedition 30 crew member aboard the International Space Station took this nighttime photograph of much of the Atlantic coast of the United States. Large metropolitan areas and other easily recognizable sites from the Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. area are visible in the image that spans almost to Rhode Island. Boston is just out of frame at right. Long Island and the New York City area are visible in the lower right quadrant. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are near the center. Parts of two Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost are seen in left foreground.
Mountains in Alaska’s Brooks Range seen during the IceBridge survey flight from Thule, Greenland to Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Rub’ al Khali is one of the largest sand deserts in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula. It includes parts of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The desert covers an area larger than France. Largely unexplored until recently, the first documented journeys made by Westerners were those of Bertram Thomas in 1931 and St. John Philby in 1932. This image was acquired on Dec. 2, 2005 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, aboard NASA’s Terra Earth-orbiting satellite.
Viewed from space, the most striking feature of our planet is the water. In both liquid and frozen form, it covers 75% of the Earth’s surface. It fills the sky with clouds. Water is practically everywhere on Earth, from inside the planet’s rocky crust to inside the cells of the human body.
This storm cell photo was taken from NASA’s high-altitude ER-2 aircraft on May 23, 2014, during a study aimed at gaining a better understanding of precipitation over mountainous terrain.
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted this photo from the International Space Station on Tuesday morning, Sept. 2, 2014. “My favorite views from #space – just past #sunrise over the ocean,” the Expedition 40 astronaut tweeted.
A narrow barrier island protects the Lagoon of Venice from storm waves in the northern Adriatic Sea, and breakwaters protect inlets to the lagoon. Red tiles on the roofs of Venice contrast with the grays of the sister city of Mestre, and the cities are joined by a prominent causeway. What appears to be another causeway joining the island to the airport (top right) is actually the combined wakes of many boats and water taxis shuttling between them. Small, bright agricultural fields on well-drained soils (top left) contrast with the darker vegetation of back-bay swamps, where fishing is a popular pastime.
This new global view of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands.
One of the Expedition 40 crew members aboard the International Space Station recorded this early evening photo of the entire Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) on July 26, 2014. Part of France can be seen at the top of the image and the Strait of Gibraltar is visible at bottom, with a very small portion of Morocco visible near the lower right corner.
A new book released this week highlights how the view from space with Earth-orbiting sensors is being used to protect some of the world’s most interesting, changing, and threatened places. From space, Egmont National Park in New Zealand shows the benefits and limitations of protected areas. In this Landsat 8 image acquired on July 3, 2014, the park, with Mt. Taranaki at its center, was established in 1900. This isolated island of protected forest (dark green areas) is surrounded by once-forested pasturelands (light and brown green).
On Jan. 7, 2014 NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the Vanuatu Archipelago, capturing this true-color image showing a broad plume of “vog” (volcanic smog) and ash.
A view of Earth as seen from the Cupola on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station. Visible in the top left foreground is a Russian Soyuz crew capsule. In the lower right corner, a solar array panel can be seen. This photo was taken from the ISS on June 12, 2013.
This other worldly landscape is actually Dagze Co, one of many inland lakes in Tibet. In glacial times, the region was considerably wetter, and lakes were correspondingly much larger, as evidenced by the numerous fossil shorelines that circle the lake and attest to the presence of a previously larger, deeper lake. Over millennia changes in climate
From the International Space Station, Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore took this photograph of the Great Lakes and central U.S. on Dec. 7, 2014, and posted it to social media.