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Over the years NASA have shared with us many images of our home planet.(More pics here) Here are six of the best:


1. The top left image is the iconic “Blue Marble” which was taken during the Apollo 17 moon mission in 1972. It is one of the most published images of all time and spurred a new environmental movement.

2. The top centre image, also entitled “Blue Marble” was taken in 2002. It was the most detailed true-color image of the Earth’s surface ever produced. Using data from NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists and data visualizers stitched together four months of observations of the land surface, coastal oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, photo-like mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet.

3. The top right image is called the Aqua Marble. Like the 2002 blue marble images, it is a mosaic of satellite data taken mostly from a NASA sensor called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) that flies board NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. It provides a full year’s worth of monthly observations with twice the level of detail as the original.

4. The bottom left image came some forty years after the original Blue Marble image in 1972. It was provided by the newly launched Suomi NPP satellite. Using modern, high resolution, photographic equipment on the satellite. But unlike the 1972 image the 2012 Blue Marble is not a photograph. 2012′s Blue Marble is a mosaic of hundreds of individual images taken by Suomi NPP as it orbits the Earth.

5. The bottom centre image is “The White Marble”. It was constructed using images from the Suomi NPP satellite. It shows the Earth from above the Arctic. It appears as a mass of white due to the icecaps and the surrounding swirls of clouds. Asia, Europe and Northern Africa are still visible towards the centre.

6. The bottom right image is the newest images from NASA called the “Black Marble”. It was also constructed using the Suomi NPP satellite equipped with a new sensor aboard which allows scientists now can observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours.The new sensor, the day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea.   

Which image is your favourite?   NASA site