Last month on Earth Day NASA asked anyone with a camera to snap a selfie to create a portrait of the planet made of thousands of individual faces – a ‘global selfie’. The project was designed to encourage environmental awareness and recognize the agency’s ongoing work to study and protect our blue world through satellites (17 in all), airborne and ground-based monitoring.
People on every continent – 113 countries and regions in all – posted pictures. After weeks of curating more than 50,000 submissions from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Flickr, a grand portrait using 36,422 individual photos was finally assembled into a gigantic mosaic.
The background photos of the Earth itself are based on pictures of each hemisphere captured on Earth Day 2014 by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. Suomi NPP, a joint mission between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, collects data on both long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions.
To really dig in, explore the full-resolution gigapan image. You can zoom and scroll across all 36,422 photos. Clicking on the ‘Snapshot’ icon in the lower left of your screen highlights one row of images at a time with information about each picture with the glide of your mouse. Unfortunately there’s no search engine to find individual photos by name. I’m still searching for mine!