back to article Second 'Blue Marble' NASA sat pic apes Apollo 17's stunner

After popular demand NASA's Suomi NPP satellite has beamed down another "Blue Marble" vision of the Earth in high definition. 'Blue marble' image of Africa and the Middle East Latest 'Blue Marble' image of Africa and the Middle East. Credit: NASA/NOAA The agency said that it decided to put out a second image of our planet …


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  1. stuartnz

    They are both lovely composites, and I hope they eventually release one of the PacRim, although to see Te Ika-a-Māui, I guess I'll have to put up with that giant penal colony to my West taking most of the attention, as usual.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly another fake...

    As if Nasa would take a photo of the world that isn't centred on the USA....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Clearly another fake...

      Unless they did it to spy on some other country so they could then cook up some lame excuse to invade them...

    2. Mike Flugennock

      NASA foto not centered on the USA?

      Hey, c'mon... the famous Apollo 8 "earthrise" shot is showing a big chunk of the Pacific, as I recall:

      ...and the Apollo 17 "big blue marble" shows, of course, Africa and the Middle East.

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  4. EddieD


    Just love the faint "ring of life" haze round the edge.

    Keep 'em coming NASA...

  5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Now it's evident!

    In the first shot by Apollo 17 the earth was much cooler than it is now.

    1. Simon Coyne

      That's because

      The Apollo 17 image was taken in winter

      1. Ted Treen

        Winter - where?

        Winter in the Northern hemisphere coincides with summer in the Southern hemisphere.

        And vice versa.

        So, - winter where?

    2. ratfox

      That is because...

      They took the picture at night!

  6. Yag

    "the first Suomi NPP Blue Marble image has had more than 3.1 million views as of February 1"

    This is the actual proof that space still makes people dream...

  7. Chuckl

    Rule 1. Provide a link to the content you're discussing. Abstract text discussions and descriptions of high res imagery are not terribly interesting.

  8. Yag

    oh, by the way, here is the link :

  9. Tony Barnes

    Prefer the original

    Though these composites are gorgeous, they really aren't a patch on that shot from '72.

    The banding from the ocean reflections is the main culprit in ruining things for me, makes it look like the earth isn't spherical. Plus it's perfect daylight everywhere - again, boom, not a sphere illuminated by a single lightsource anymore. So techincally impressive, initially attractive, but ultimately full of fail.

    When its decomissioning time, they should strap some boosters to Hubble, bob her off a bit into the solar system, and get a nice close up from there - would be a lovely shot. Hmmm, would be nice to do fly-by's of the whole solar system...

    1. Gary B.

      Good idea, except...

      How exactly would we strap on boosters to Hubble, now that the US doesn't have any manned space vehicle? As far as I'm aware, the Shuttle would be the only space vehicle capable of getting humans to Hubble to strap on any boosters (pretending for a moment that such a mission would even be technically possible).

      Brilliant idea, retiring the Shuttle before a new space vehicle is available...or even in the process of being built.

      1. Yag

        Good idea, in theory...

        Trouble is that Hubble was never designed for this.

        - The solar pannels will not be enough to power the craft once it's far from the sun (mars or jupiter far). The use of radioisotopic generators in most deep space missions is not for 50s-60s-nuclear-power nostalgia reasons...

        - The antena was designed with a "few thousand kilometer" range in mind, not "few millions"

        - Where the heck can we strap those boosters...

        - ... and the structure of the poor thing may be teared apart by the thrust...

        - ... and even if the structure resist, the optics may have a hard time.

        etc, etc...

        Indeed, you shall be able to take a nice medium range shot of the Earth, but the cost of the mission will be quite prohibitive for just a couple of photos.

    2. Bonce


      The earth isn't a perfect sphere. It bulges around the equator.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oblate Spheroid

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        There's no call for that sort of language - this is a family website

    4. Yag

      About the banding...

      You will notice that there's none in the previous US-centric shoot...

      Seems like this one was a quick hack...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that peculiar ...

    It's not peculiar, because we all know that Americans prefer to see an image that's centred on the USA, or at least the American continents. It's for that that very reason that people were moaning, but you still don't seem to have quite 'got it.'

  11. Anonymous John

    I don't think any can compare with the Apollo 8 Earthrise photos. Something that despite all the mission planning, nobody had anticipated.

    1. Tony Barnes

      Agree, beautiful shot -

      [conspiracy theorist]

      but where are the stars? Yyou should be able to see stars from the moon. It never happened...

      [/conspiracy theorist]


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That I grant you, but can I nominate second place?

      It has to be the first shot of the Earth Moon system which was captured by Voyager 1 from over 7 million miles out.

      BTW if you've never seen them, the Earthrise images sent back by the Soviet Zond 7 probe (an unmanned trial of a possible manned lunar mission) are quite beautiful:

  12. Craig 2


    Imho not as impressive as the original because it's fake. Looking at the original `blue marble` photo makes me imagine what it would have been like to actually look at that view, and be in the boots of that astronaut. Looking at the new one makes me think `looks like Google Earth`.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      good point... made by a couple of other folks here. The new fotos are of higher resolution, but are mosaics, so that the Earth appears unnaturally, uniformly lit, not as it actually appears in space -- a globe lit by the Sun, as we can see in the Apollo 17 foto, and the famous "Earthrise" fotos shot by the Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 crews.

  13. CNS

    Seeing green from space?

    I am under the impression that you cannot see the colour green from space, as evidenced by earlier film-based photos. So the new enhanced images might be giving a false impression.

    1. Jaybus

      Re: Seeing green from space?

      Hence the term "false color image", used to refer to the fact that the actual image sensor is looking at infrered radiation??

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we about to become lunch ?

    What are those odd bear claw scratches ? If we are about to become lunch for some intergalactic beast then we must be told or is it not too late to bow down before our ursine overlord ?

  15. stuartnz
    Thumb Up

    Pale blue dots

    The Voyager photo is unique and iconic, but aesthetically, my favourite "pale blue dot" photo of Earth was the one Cassini took:

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yes but...

      ....the Voyager picture inspired Carl Sagan's speech of the Pale Blue Dot. And that, is the most beautiful speech done by any human being. EVER.

  16. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Made of awesome, from a technical standpoint, but...

    ...I still like the Apollo 17 version better, if only because there was a human behind the camera, instead of a robot -- and because it takes me back to some of the better days of my adolescence.

    A human can gaze out the window at a sight like that and have impressions and feelings and describe them. All the robot can do is transmit the image data; it can't have an experience.

    As awesome as the MER rovers are, they can't pause from drilling a rock, gaze out across the landscape and muse reverently, "magnificent desolation".

    Still in all, a killer foto. Pretty strange artifacts created by the sun glint in the mosaic strips, though.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not worth the ink...

    Those dirty gray bands ruin it.

    With all the geostationary satellites up there, nobody has bothered to bolt on a nice camera to any of them? MAJOR FAIL. The "500 Channel" (TV) universe, and the only Live Feed from space is from the ISS staring at cloud tops? The NASA TV feed from the ISS is okay, but we should have at least a half dozen HD feeds of Earth to replace some of the mindless fare. Three geostationary feeds from 120° spaced birds. Zoomed in to fill the frame. Auto exposure so that night side also looks interesting. Full motion so we can see lightning. Another polar orbiting feed. Etc.

    1. thenim


      that would ruin big brother... or I'm an unknown "celeb", get me the f*** outa here...

      we can't have that...

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