‘Blue Marble’ Image of the Earth Taken from NASA’s Suomi NPP Satellite

'Blue Marble' Image of the Earth

Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

NASA’s Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP, captured this “Blue Marble” image of Earth on January 24, 2012 using the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite. As you can see, the HD photo is a vast improvement over the photo taken on December 7, 1972.

A ‘Blue Marble’ image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite – Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed ‘Suomi NPP’ on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.

Suomi NPP is NASA’s next Earth-observing research satellite. It is the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth.

Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS.

1972 Blue Marble Image

Credit: NASA Johnson Space Center

This classic photograph of the Earth was taken on December 7, 1972. The original caption is reprinted below:

View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.

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