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NASA Earth Mars Space Science

NASA Releases New High-Definition Image of Earth 106

Posted by timothy
from the texas-centric-view dept.
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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NASA Releases New High-Definition Image of Earth

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  • Heyt! (Score:5, Funny)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:50AM (#38829201) Homepage

    I can see my house!

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:54AM (#38829251)
    Send a robot probe!
  • by mdsharpe (1051460) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:55AM (#38829263)
    Wait a minute, I've seen a photo a bit like that before. Quick, call the lawyers!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:56AM (#38829271)

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

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:59AM (#38829305) Journal
      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...
      • I was looking for the same; either tiles or a single 4k or 8k image for use as a texture?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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

    • by gcnaddict (841664)
      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
      • by idontgno (624372) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:16PM (#38832037) Journal

        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.

        • by petman (619526)

          ... 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... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jtseng (4054) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:02AM (#38829335)

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

  • Great picture

  • Too Large (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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!

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      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 (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:36AM (#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.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          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 fro

          • by petman (619526)
            The comment in the image file says this:

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

    • by Joce640k (829181)

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

  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:10AM (#38829435) Homepage Journal
    Enhance!
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:14AM (#38829467) Journal
    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.
  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:15AM (#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.
    • 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...
    • 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.
    • by jc42 (318812)

      ...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

      • by petman (619526)
        500 miles (800 km)? I think it's higher. From the image file's metadata:

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

        • by jc42 (318812)

          500 miles (800 km)? I think it's higher. From the image file's metadata:

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

          I think you're right. I was just using the estimates from other posters in this discussion. But I'd guess that the NASA folks just might be more accurate than random /. posters. ;-)

          In any case, when I saw the image, I was immediately struck by the fact that it was obviously the view from a point rather close to the Earth. It has only about half of North America plus all of Central America, but no South America. It's not even close to a hemisphere.

          The funny part, of course, was the people who took t

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

    May be time for an upgrade.

  • Admit it... (Score:5, Funny)

    by kryliss (72493) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:30AM (#38829703)

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

  • by Schwarzy (70560) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:35AM (#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.

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:39AM (#38829829)
    Mexico is the center of the world.
  • by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:41AM (#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.

    • by Lev13than (581686) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:58AM (#38830135) Homepage

      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.

      • Or 40 years.
      • by steelfood (895457)

        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.

  • 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 :-) (Score:4, Informative)

    by CptPicard (680154) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @12:04PM (#38830239)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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

  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @12:50PM (#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.
  • Meh, It miss a lot of countries. That picture can't be real
  • 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.

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

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