Getting the Big Picture of Earth… Every Day

May 4, 2016
Editor @17Goals

What does the Earth look like today?

In 1968, Apollo astronauts took the first pictures of the whole Earth, the “blue marble,” as it looks from a distance. Now, you can check out how the Earth looks from space every day, practically in real time.

Out in space, about one million miles (1.6 million km) from the Earth, is a new satellite called “DSCOVR”. It sits directly in between the Earth and the Sun, and observers the “solar weather” — the flares and particle storms that our local star produces regularly.

Earth-Space-29Apr2016But on the other side of the satellite is a camera, pointed at Earth. It sends a constant stream of high-resolution images back to us, like this one.

That’s home. That’s where the 17 Goals are going to be playing out, over the coming 15 years (and longer).

Whenever you feel like you need to pull back from the nitty-gritty, detailed work of trying to transform human civilization, just visit the DSCOVR website, and take a look at the most recent picture from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC — a fancy name for a color camera). Take a look at the time stamp. What were you doing just then? Are you “in the picture”? (If you’re not in the picture, you can click and rotate the globe back in time a bit, until you can see yourself.)

At 17Goals, we think this is a great tool for helping us keep our perspective on the global challenges we face. They may be huge, but the planet is quite small. It’s our “spaceship.” Everything we need to solve the challenges of sustainable development are right here.

DSCOVR is a great resource to share with schools, work colleagues … spread it around!

Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera webpage:
http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Main DSCOVR website:
http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/index.html

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