Space exploration is only about exploring new places, right?
Actually, a substantial part of NASA’s work in space is focused on learning more about Earth. By observing Earth from new perspectives in space, scientists can learn even more about the planet that we call home. In October 2011, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership spacecraft (Suomi NPP) was launched into orbit and began making remarkable observations of our little blue planet. Suomi NPP was created through a partnership between NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and collaboration with the Department of Defense.
At night, the world comes alive with light. Suomi NPP recently produced incredible new views of the Earth at night. It did so by using cutting-edge imaging technology called VIIRS, which observes dim light and distinguishes the light’s impact on the atmosphere. This allows for a much more complete picture of the Earth’s light at night. The detail of the views is second to none, and they provide an amazing perspective of human impact on the world. Brightly lit boats on the Nile River and wildfires in Australia are among the clearly distinguishable features of Suomi NPP’s images. Both political and natural borders are visible through light patterns, such as the Himalayas and the divide between North and South Korea.
A wealth of information is contained in Suomi NPP’s views of the Earth, and this is just the beginning. NASA’s ability to reach into space while learning even more about Earth is invaluable.
Read more about Suomi NPP, watch videos, and see more pictures here:
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