Most of us think of Earth as a "thing." And to a small degree, that's an accurate characterization. However, to look at things from a different perspective, Earth is actually an incubator for everything we know and are familiar with. If Earth were merely a thing, it could wither up and die and it would be of absolutely no consequence to anything sheltered under its extensive atmosphere; from its rolling, white clouds, down to the contrasting palettes of blue and green. Heck, the fact that it can die shows it's much more than the sum of its individual parts.
This new stunning time-lapse look at 6 months of Earth's activity shows this principle in action. Put together by NASA, the short film in GIF form is a compilation of data taken in the eastern hemisphere from January 18th to July 25th, 2014.
Amazingly, its detailed enough to see subtle variations in the color of snow and vegetation, with winter shifting from spring to summer at a feverish rate.
The images compiled here were taken over the course of eight orbits using NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, which uses 10 different channels with the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The final product is entitled "Blue Marble, Eastern Hemisphere."
As something to contemplate:
"After having the privilege of flying shuttle missions and seeing Earth from the vantage point of space, I'll never forget observing our fragile planet from above with no visible political borders, only those established by the oceans and mountains and other geography," remarked Charles Bolden, from NASA, in a statement.
"It's a reminder that our planet belongs to everyone, and we each have a responsibility to help protect it. For NASA, that means making Earth science a priority investment. It's one of the cornerstones of our work."
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS imagery from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory.