Earth As A Planet

Looks like Mars, doesn’t it? This 1.2 mile-wide crater is actually deep in the Sahara Desert. It’s called Tenoumer Crater and lies on vast plain of ancient rock. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image over Mauritania on January 24, 2008. Credit: (NASA,Jesse Allen, NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)

Most of the time this blog features information and photos of worlds beyond the Earth. We’re looked at the planets, near and distant stars, asteroids, comets and quasars. Sometimes it’s fun to turn our gaze Earthward and see our planet as one world among many. To help us do that today, I want to recommend a series of photographs taken by Earth-orbiting satellites featured on the Boston Globe website. They’re guaranteed to pin your wow meter at high.

The Bear Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula along the Gulf of Alaska seen by the IKONOS satellite on August 8, 2005. IKONOS satellite image courtesy GeoEye.

The 23 images are just a small sample of some of the best images from NASA’s Earth Observatory website. I scrolled through these last night and gained a better appreciation for our home planet’s incredible diversity of landforms and environments — both natural and those touched by the hands of humans.