Isn’t it cool to see what Earth looks like from outer space? Only the awesome dudes from NASA got the chance to appreciate the beauty of what our planet looks like from the best viewing area ever – the space shuttle.
Fortunately, NASA dudes didn’t enjoyed it only for themselves. They took lots of shots, no, not just lots but millions of photos of our Earth and shared it to us publicly. NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have publically released nearly 3 million images from their database of thermal emission images detailing 99 percent of the planet’s surface. Now you can enjoy different views of the Earth and even amazing natural events from different perspective.
NASA’s Terra spacecraft has been snapping Earth since 1999 using Japan’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). With these 16 and a bit years of work, it’s captured some incredible sights, including the aftermath of the Pakistani floods, North Korea’s drought, Iceland’s volcanic eruptions, the Venetian canals, Namibia’s sand dunes, California’s bushfires, and even the remnants of a sulfur plant fire in Iraq.
The imaging by ASTER has the ability to capture land surface temperature and reflectance. Along with this, it merges two mildly offset two-dimensional images to create the impression of three dimensions. With this three-pronged attack, it can measure all manner of geological and environmental conditions.
The 2.95 million individual scenes that have been released can be accessed through the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center with a smaller (and more easily accessible) selection on the ASTER website.
Since that’s a lot of images, here are some of them: