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NASA Releases New High-Definition Image of Earth

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the texas-centric-view dept.

NASA 106

New submitter klchoward writes "Working for NOAA, I have been really pleased to see the weather data from the new Suomi NPP satellite coming into our computer models already but have been blown away by its capability to take stunning high-definition images of our planet. See the article at Huffington Post or go straight to the image at NASA's website." Reader derekmead has some images from further afield, too: these beautiful images of Mars come from NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, mounted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Heyt! (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829201)

I can see my house!

Re:Heyt! (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829337)

Heyters gonna heyt.

Re:Heyt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38833347)

Heyt! So can I!

What a miserable looking mud ball (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829251)

Send a robot probe!

Re:What a miserable looking mud ball (5, Funny)

ewg (158266) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829269)

If you don't like it, go someplace else.

Re:What a miserable looking mud ball (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829463)

I've heard it's Mostly Harmless though.

Re:What a miserable looking mud ball (2)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829533)

don't worry, it's scheduled for demolition next week

Re:What a miserable looking mud ball (2)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830215)

No big loss. After all, its inhabitants concern themselves entirely too much about the movement of green paper, and still think that digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

Copyright Infringement! (5, Funny)

mdsharpe (1051460) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829263)

Wait a minute, I've seen a photo a bit like that before. Quick, call the lawyers!

Re:Copyright Infringement! (2)

jtseng (4054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829773)

Did they get it from Megaupload? Someone tell Chris Dodd...

Re:Copyright Infringement! (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831901)

Did they get a release form from Earth to make it public? Oh, this will come back at us!

Which reminds me of this article [theonion.com]

Re:Copyright Infringement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38834755)

My house is in that picture. Nobody got my release to use it. I am going to fucking sue NASA for all they are worth, or a flight to the ISS.

Link to original size pic. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829271)

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/618486main_earth_full.jpg

Re:Link to original size pic. (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829305)

The overall(presumably composite) pic is pretty cool looking; but does anybody know if they have the data available in the less-immediately-elegant-but-rather-more-useful georectified form?

As wallpaper, the press shot can hardly be beat. If they have the GeoTIFFs somewhere, though, that would have much broader application...

Re:Link to original size pic. (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829379)

I was looking for the same; either tiles or a single 4k or 8k image for use as a texture?

Re:Link to original size pic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829499)

Not exactly what you're asking for, but if you haven't seen this site you should: http://planetpixelemporium.com/planets.html

Re:Link to original size pic. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830343)

Original data sets suitable for conversion to texture maps are available. Start with these links:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/BlueMarble/
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_cat.php?categoryID=1484

Re:Link to original size pic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830153)

Unfortunately, it is only offered as showing the USA.
I'd like to see a Europe/Asia/Africa version too.
No, actually, I'd like a complete version in a polar coordinate system. (Is there a image format that supports polar coordinate systems? I bet TIFF does. It does *everything*. ;)

Re:Link to original size pic. (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38834587)

if you're upset about only seeing north america, you'll be more upset when you see the crud in the gulf of mexico clearly visible.

Re:Link to original size pic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830411)

So... can someone tell me why this is special in any way?
I've seen many, many image like this and MUCH bigger.
Here are just some examples:
http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/57000/57723/globe_west_2048.jpg
http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/57000/57723/globe_east_2048.jpg

Re:Link to original size pic. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830617)

Sigh.
Okay, just ignore my post.
Apparently both FUCKING links in the summary go to a tiny image.
Why are the summaries ALWAYS, ALWAYS fucked up.

Re:Link to original size pic. (2)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831631)

Looking at the top of the sphere in the image, it's apparently to me that the image itself is a 3D rendering resulting from many land shots of the Earth stitched together.

NASA readily admits that this is a composite image, but perhaps mentioning that it's a composite of land-pass images stitched together on a 3D sphere modeled after the Earth would make more sense. People might otherwise just assume this is a composite of photographs taken from and stiched together in 2D.

It does make me wonder why the rendering wasn't anti-aliased, though.

Re:Link to original size pic. (4, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38832037)

I'm not sure I'm following where you're leading. This is a composite; it's a composite of Earth-view swaths of a sun-synchronous polar orbiting earth observation satellite. The "native geolocation space" of the images is a swath approximately 3000 km wide and tracking under the orbital path of the spacecraft (i.e., ground-track Mercator). This image is based on reprojecting those swaths to the geoid, so it looks like you're floating above the Equator and looking down at Earth.

As to anti-aliasing, I dunno. This isn't a standard product of Suomi's ground system, so whatever aesthetic and technical decisions are reflected in this image are entirely on the NASA folks who did this.

Re:Link to original size pic. (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836005)

... so it looks like you're floating above the Equator and looking down at Earth.

No, not above the Equator. The North American continent doesn't cross the Equator.

That's our home... (3, Insightful)

jtseng (4054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829335)

We have to love it since we can't leave it.

Re:That's our home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829381)

We have to love it since we can't leave it.

Like the geek in their parent's basement..

Re:That's our home... (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829563)

or the middle aged former athlete in his own past

Re:That's our home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836023)

We have to love it since we can't leave it.

Not true, we're perfectly capable of being miserable whilst we're here.

Hopelessly romantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829369)

Those one world romantics at NASA have really outdone themselves this time. They edited the picture so that not a single border line can be seen. It looks like one undivided planet. Those fools.

Big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829383)

US looks as big as the egos of politicians

Go Suomi ! (1)

Mr Europe (657225) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829403)

Great picture

Too Large (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829411)

The North American continent is too large. Or the Earth is too small.

It is very bothersome, and creates the illusion that the USA is much larger than it is!

Re:Too Large (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829529)

And South America is MISSING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Too Large (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829753)

There's a lot of distortion in the image. The probe is only 500 miles above the Earth, so the probe can only see about 1700 miles in each direction before it reaches the horizon. They've basically presented the image as seen through a fish-eye lens.

Re:Too Large (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829791)

Actually on further inspection it seems that this was electronically generated from sweeps of the Earth, and therefore they could've chosen any perspective they wanted, but the horizon distance in the image is correct for someone looking from 500 miles above that spot.

Re:Too Large (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38834639)

Actually, your guess as to the altitude is pretty good.

From http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/media/newsletter/winter09/nppsatellite.pdf [wisc.edu] :

The NPP spacecraft [was] launched into a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 825 kilometers with an equator crossing time of 1:30 pm, a period of 100 minutes, and a repeat cycle of 16 days.

825 km is 512 miles.

So, the nadir point (center) of the image is largely distortion-free and scales closely to the geometry of the original instrument swath. As you get farther away from the center, the distortion increases, of course. Still, I'm guessing that Earth really does look that... swollen.. from that relatively low altitude.

Re:Too Large (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836065)

The comment in the image file says this:

Projection: Near-sided perspective from 2124 kilometers above 20 North by 100 West

Re:Too Large (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38833085)

I was hoping for a pic of the other side, where the interesting stuff is. It looks like they haven't bothered.

In next episode of CSI:whatever (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829435)

Enhance!

Looks like it is photoshopped. (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829467)

Looks like they have done some serious photoshopping. I could not see any of the lines showing the state borders. May be they erased it for security reasons. Also I did not see the pink tear drop like thingie with A, B etc written on it. Simply put, it does not look anything like the satellite images I have seen in maps.google.com.

Re:Looks like it is photoshopped. (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829615)

My first thought when I read the headline was 'Cool. When is it making it into Google Earth?'

Re:Looks like it is photoshopped. (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829757)

I know you're trying to be funny, but you're failing. And 9 minutes too late.

Re:Looks like it is photoshopped. (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831405)

The mods have spoken - he succeeded at funny.

Re:Looks like it is photoshopped. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38831657)

I don't think so ... (Score:5, Funny)

Re:Looks like it is photoshopped. (1)

FranktehReaver (2441748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38833483)

I am revoking your funny inspector badge! You are off the force!

Re:Looks like it is photoshopped. (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831655)

yeah, it aint got no borders or labels.

What we need... (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829487)

...is for every politician and corporate bigwig to have an image like this permanently tattooed onto their retina. Maybe then they would realize how small, fragile, and insignificant we really are in the grand scheme of things. It's nice thinking but it seems that greed and short-sightedness win the day most of the time.

Re:What we need... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829579)

I keep one of the pale blue dot images as a background. The one currently up is Earthrise seen from Mars via the Opportunity rover. It's a reminder of how insignificant I am...

It has the opposite effect (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830835)

You think an image of the whole earth might make people feel insignificant, but I suspect having a nice visual aid actually helps people in power feel they are more in control - they can see the big picture and feel a stronger sense of ownership ;-) I know it helps me grasp the concept of the "whole world" even if the scale is so foreign you can't conceive of a person's size in the picture.

Re:It has the opposite effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835523)

...the scale is so foreign you can't conceive of a person's size in the picture.

Actually, there are some easily distinguishable features in the area where I live in this picture so I do get a pretty good grasp of how big (small) I am in this picture. More importantly, this picture has helped me comprehend just how big the world is (relative to my size), more than any other picture I've seen.

This "pale blue dot" is HUGE!

Re:What we need... (2)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38832833)

...is for every politician and corporate bigwig to have an image like this permanently tattooed onto their retina.

Nah; that image would mostly impress American politicians with the "fact" that the only continent visible from space is North America. South America, Africa and Eurasia simply don't exist, or are too insignificant to include on a picture of the Earth. For that matter, Canada doesn't seem to exist, either.

Yeah, yeah, I know; it's what was visible from one point 500 miles (800 km) up from just one point on the satellite's orbit. But we have a lot of replies already that seem to be pushing the idea that that's what's visible from space ;-)

I wonder if we can find the full series of similar images from other spots on the orbit.

Where is all the "green"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829521)

It looks like everywhere is turning into desert.
Man... we have just destroyed the biomass of the planet.

Re:Where is all the "green"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829597)

It's winter landscape. Most of corn and soy has been harvested.

Re:Where is all the "green"? (3, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829613)

The picture was taken a few weeks ago. The high-latitude and high-altitude parts of North America aren't very verdant this time of year.

My 1/2 gig PC cried (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829595)

It didn't have enough room to display the 8000x8000 image and froze.

May be time for an upgrade.

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829919)

1/2 gig of what?

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (2)

inpher (1788434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831149)

gig 1 |gig| noun
1 chiefly a light two-wheeled carriage pulled by one horse.
2 a light, fast, narrow boat adapted for rowing or sailing.

I too would like to know if it is half a boat or half a carriage.

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831549)

I too would like to know if it is half man, half a boat or half a carriage.

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831563)

a/or/and/

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831601)

facepalm

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831403)

Not a system memory issue, I'm pretty sure, I think. My 4GB RHEL 6.2 laptop's GNOME session crashed while Firefox tried to load the image.

I wouldn't be surprise if it were partly due to my ancient Firefox (3.6.24), but crashing GNOME isn't Firefox's fault.

Re:My 1/2 gig PC cried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38833259)

Your system must be messed up somehow. I had no problems opening the 8kx8x version with either firefox 3.6.24 or KDE's desktop viewer with ubuntu 10.04LTS.

This was on a fairly modest i7-880 with 8GB RAM and a 2GB Radeon HD-5970 video card.

Obligatory Programming Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829607)

Hello, world!

Admit it... (5, Funny)

kryliss (72493) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829703)

How many of you had the urge to zoom in with your mouse wheel?

*RANT* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38832681)

How many of you had the urge to zoom in with your mouse wheel?

Good Lord, I hate that mouse-wheel zoom. Mouse scrolling should *pan* like every other app in the world, not zoom.

Just USA seen from space. Not whole Earth. (3, Insightful)

Schwarzy (70560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829767)

I much prefer this one about Apollo-1 crew:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2160.html [nasa.gov]

Very nice shot. Reminds also how difficult and dangerous was the space race.

Re:Just USA seen from space. Not whole Earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829869)

Wrong link?

Unless you're making some kind of subtle commentary on the size of Grissom's Florida.

Re:Just USA seen from space. Not whole Earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835605)

Regarding subject line... Yep, you can see some of the USA. Mexico is in the center of the image. Geography fail. Generally speaking, you can't see a "whole" 3D object in a single image. Spacial reasoning fail. Since you have to pick a "side" of the object to show in the image, you might as well pick the side where your organization (NASA) is headquartered (the "I can see my house from here" factor). Common sense fail.

Wow! Who knew? (2)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829829)

Mexico is the center of the world.

It's not a photograph (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38829873)

It's pretty, but it's not a photograph of the earth. It's CG; a rendering of a sphere texturemapped with images of the surface of the planet that they captured. Neither NASA nor huffpost are misrepresenting what it is, but there's something special about the original blue marble, which is an actual *photograph* of the entire planet, not something thrown together in 3ds max.

Re:It's not a photograph (4, Insightful)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830135)

It's a little sad that the last time any human was able to see the entire earth at once was December 1972. That's like traveling across the ocean and then coming home and sitting on your front porch for the next 30 years.

Re:It's not a photograph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830341)

Even if you are in high orbit you can only see at most half of the planet at a time.

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830809)

Nah, you just need some really big mirrors.

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38831489)

Even if you are in high orbit you can only see at most half of the planet at a time.

When you look at a tennis ball, do you remind yourself that you're only seeing half of it?

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

Qhartb (1311541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38833865)

Even if you are in high orbit you can only see at most half of the planet at a time.

When you look at a tennis ball, do you remind yourself that you're only seeing half of it?

Often, yes. Is that just me?

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38834409)

Even if you are in high orbit you can only see at most half of the planet at a time.

When you look at a tennis ball, do you remind yourself that you're only seeing half of it?

Often, yes. Is that just me?

You are not alone.

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830409)

Or 40 years.

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38834629)

That's like traveling across the ocean and then coming home and sitting on your front porch for the next 30 years.

That's just retirement.

Re:It's not a photograph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830779)

Exactly. One can clearly see the aliasing going on in the "corners" (e.g. the 1:30 clock position) at the border of the sphere.
It looks all noisy, typical for flat image data being forced into a sphere.

Re:It's not a photograph (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831687)

Weren't you supposed to start that paragraph with "IT'S BEEN SHOPPED"?

Brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38829889)

Why is North America so brown? It looks almost desert-like.

Re:Brown (1)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830203)

Maybe because it's winter?

I'm guessing that most of the country is pretty brown in January, excepting the lower latitudes and areas with a lot of evergreens. I suppose it also could be a product of the camera, for instance a lot of IR or something.

Re:Brown (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830245)

Late summer at the time the photograph was taken?

Season change makes a big difference at any height

Re:Brown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38832201)

Why is America so brown?

A porous southern border?

Fractals Fractals Everywhere (1, Interesting)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830037)

The clouds, the rivers, the mountains, the coastlines, you name it - you can see fractals in any frame of that image, it's beautiful. Start at the tip of Florida and go ESE in full zoom, the cloud patterns almost look like they were generated in FRACTINT.

Suomi :-) (3, Informative)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830239)

As a Finn, I'm glad to have "Finland" (in Finnish) up there in orbit :-)

Re:Suomi :-) (3, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831713)

Apparently, it was named after Verner Suomi [wikipedia.org] , so it's not a direct reference to our country, but there is a Finnish ancestry nevertheless.

Re:Suomi :-) (1)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38832701)

Yeah, but how many people with the actual surname "Suomi" do you know anyway... :-)

Me wants Europe too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830601)

Pic above is not worthwhile - cause I'm from Europe. Meh.

Wallpaper Instructions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38830613)

Was just looking at the 'Set as Wallpaper' instructions
And people say Mac's are easy to use

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2159.html

Re:Wallpaper Instructions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38833909)

Was just looking at the 'Set as Wallpaper' instructions And people say Mac's are easy to use

Huh?

MAC OS X: Right-click on the image and click 'Use image as Desktop picture'

from http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco/multimedia/wallpaper.html [nasa.gov]

Cloud-Free update? (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38830855)

Will they be producing a new higher resolution version of the cloud-free earth? That would be nice - more pixels and more up to date.

Re:Cloud-Free update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38833061)

They would have to wait for a cloud-free day.

Where is it? (2)

tequila_j (1989882) | more than 2 years ago | (#38831051)

Meh, It miss a lot of countries. That picture can't be real

I can see an even more detailed version. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38832889)

I simply look outside. Infinite resolution.

Chemtrails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38833383)

just below the great lakes... lots of 'em.

Click on Full Size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835303)

No signs of life.

Can we have southern hemisphere images too? (1)

msevior (145103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835847)

The orginal 1972 "Blue Marble" showed a beautiful collection of cold front spun up out of antartica. It would be great to get some composite images of the other side the world too.

Oblig. MST3K reference (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836073)

Just like we left it, with the USA in charge!

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