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NASA Sees Earth From Orbit: 2013
April 21, 2014

[image-51]A fleet of orbiting satellites monitors Earth constantly. The satellites from NASA and other space agencies give us a fresh, wide perspective on things that we can see from the ground – and things that we can’t.

A look back at Earth in 2013 from the viewpoint of orbit reveals the kind of data gathering and technical achievement that are the reason NASA puts Earth-observing satellites in space. A visualization of satellite and computer model data shows how a cloud of dust from the Chelyabinsk meteor moved around the world. NASA satellites measured the intensity of wildfires, the salinity of the oceans and rainfall around the globe – whether it was too little or too much.

Satellites also helped bring us discovery – like the “mega-canyon,” longer than the Grand Canyon, found under a mile of Greenland ice. Meanwhile, far from the world’s ice sheets, scientists used a new technique to measure the fluorescence of plants. The visualized result shows a glowing world that is both awe-inspiring and instructive.


The satellite view of Earth allows for everything from the terrifying to the peaceful. Satellites gave us imagery of typhoon Usagi rapidly intensifying and they gave us humbling images of a storm that spawned tornadoes in Oklahoma. Satellites also showed us how the seasons change, and how the world looks from above, on the International Space Station, as the Earth spins and night turns to day.

NASA works to better understand and protect our home planet. Our data and research helps improve environmental prediction and prepare for natural hazards and climate change. In 2014, five NASA missions are launching to space – the most active year for NASA Earth science in more than a decade.

To learn more about NASA’s Earth science in 2014, please visit: www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

Imagery used in this video, in order:

› Views of a Distant Earth
› Earth and Moon
› Current Earth Observing Fleet
› ISS From Night to Day to Night Again
› Astronaut View of Fires in Colorado
› Extensive Ice Fractures in the Beaufort Sea
› Dune Movement Around Aorounga
› San Francisco Region at Night
› Whiting Event, Lake Ontario
› Dust Plumes over the Mediterranean
› Mt. St. Helens
› El Paso
› Close-Up of Flooding in Mozambique
› Drought Dries Elephant Butte Reservoir
› Oklahoma Tornadoes
› Floods in Colorado
› Pavlof Volcano
› Swirling Sediment Reveals Erosive Power of New England Storm
› Never at Rest: The Air over Los Angeles
› Measuring Soil Moisture from Space
› Antarctic Bedrock
› Seeing Photosynthesis from Space
› Greenland's Mega Canyon
› Chelyabinsk Bolide Plume as seen by NPP and NASA Models
› Narrated Distributed Water Balance of the Nile Basin
› NEO Observations (various)

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A highlight reel of some of the best images and data visualizations of Earth in 2013 from NASA and partner agencies.
Image Credit: 
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
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Earth Right Now: Your planet is changing. We're on it.
Five new NASA Earth science missions are launching in 2014 to expand our understanding of Earth’s changing climate and environment.
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Page Last Updated: April 29th, 2014
Page Editor: Rob Garner