Goddamn that's beautiful
February 3, 2012 7:59 AM   Subscribe

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of Earth, taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7th 1972, as they traveled to the moon. On January 23th, 2012, the Suomi NPP satellite snapped a similar, high definition photo, called Blue Marble 2012. By sure to check out the other side of the Marble, how the photos were taken and a PDF that describes the NPP project.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Holy crap, if you view all sizes the original is 8000x8000! Damn.
posted by bondcliff at 8:08 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

god damnit, George Lucas ruins everything
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:10 AM on February 3, 2012

Proposal: any public official that puts forth opinions or legislation against poor people, immigrants, or bombing other countries gets sent in to space to see this firsthand.

Anyone not crying within 10 minutes gets left up there.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:13 AM on February 3, 2012

Boy, this is only my imagination, but I can really see India ramming into China and raising up the Himayalas, at this angle.

Beautiful stuff.
posted by Danf at 8:13 AM on February 3, 2012

We live on the most awesome planet in the whole entire solar system.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:17 AM on February 3, 2012

Wow. If you look at the original of the "other side" link you can find Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.
posted by bondcliff at 8:19 AM on February 3, 2012

My first thought when I looked at the Gulf of Mexico was "God, it looks like a puddle of oil." I'm sure it's just a coincidence.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:34 AM on February 3, 2012

From the Flickr collection: Space Weather Forecasters, slightly out of focus. I was wondering about the weird framing, focus and colors on the picture, and sure enough, its an Instagram pic.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on February 3, 2012

Second in awe for me to the Pale Blue Dot.

Worth quoting Carl Sagan, in full, again:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
posted by lalochezia at 9:05 AM on February 3, 2012 [8 favorites]

Also, see my old post on the Blue Marble.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:14 AM on February 3, 2012

This image in one shot covers just about every country I'd least like to live in.
posted by ironjelly at 9:25 AM on February 3, 2012

Don't forget the 70s PBS goodness that was Big Blue Marble.
posted by jonp72 at 9:43 AM on February 3, 2012

god damnit, George Lucas ruins everything

No, no. Apollo 17 still shot first.
posted by yoink at 10:30 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does anybody know what those huge, hazy, North-South cloud lines are in the Eastern Hemisphere picture? They seem like they cover about 60° of the planet, and there are four of them, evenly-spaced. Are they real? If so, what are they?
posted by Scientist at 11:49 AM on February 3, 2012

From the caption:
The four vertical lines of 'haze' visible in this image shows the reflection of sunlight off the ocean, or 'glint,' that VIIRS captured as it orbited the globe.
posted by NMcCoy at 12:14 PM on February 3, 2012

Re:the four lines of 'haze' - the Blue Marble 2012 version fails to cut my emotional mustard because it's a composite image.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

We think of the Earth as overcrowded, a concrete jungle full of trash, people, and desolation. But looking at the image, I can barely see traces of civilization. If I look really hard, I can see LA, St. Louis, Memphis, Salt Lake City, and San Diego. That's it.

The Earth don't give a shit about our structures.

(Yes, that's US-centric, but I'm not as familiar with the geography of other nations, so I don't know what to look for.)
posted by Turkey Glue at 1:17 PM on February 3, 2012

Also, the Salton Sea still looks like the Earth passed out drunk and had a dick drawn on its face.
posted by Turkey Glue at 1:20 PM on February 3, 2012

It was young and the universe was just forming, don't you dare judge it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:21 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm struck by the difference between Blue Marble and Night-Time Lights photos.
posted by stratastar at 2:14 PM on February 3, 2012

Wow - it looks like the deserts of northern Africa have visible extended southward between the two pics.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:20 PM on February 3, 2012

A long time ago during the lawless age of the internet, MeFi posters were linking to free MP3 electronica mixtapes like pirates slurping noodles. (>_<) and I downloaded Scientific American's Saints of Infinity. Part 9 is a groovy ambient simulated symphony downbeat electronic piece (5:57) with Carl Sagan samples:

"As long as there have been [inaudible] we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Where are we? Who are we? We find we live on an insignificant planet around a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner in a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."

...carry us to the stars!"
posted by xtian at 3:18 PM on February 3, 2012

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