Glossy ice formations, snaking rivers, and massive lava flows: If you’ve seen any gorgeous satellite images of the Earth, you might have NASA’s Landsat 8 to thank.
NASA via Giphy
The satellite has been in orbit around Earth since 2013, capturing images of our ever-changing planet.
NASA is launching Landsat 9 — the satellite’s successor —on September 16, 2021.
It will be the latest installment in a nearly 50-year project — the longest continuous effort to document Earth’s terrestrial features from space.
Besides capturing the incredibly diverse topography of our planet, Landsat also helps researchers gauge how the world is changing.
Landsat’s vantage point from space produces some remarkable views of the blue marble we call home.
NASA via Tumblr
Here are 10 of the most stunning images of Earth taken by Landsat 8:
10. Captured in 2013, this image shows ice melting in Russia’s Sannikov Strait, which is frozen most of the year.
9. This image of central Pennsylvania’s mountains was captured in fall 2020 after the leaves on the trees changed color.
8. Tanzania’s Lake Natron has an unusual chemical composition, thanks to volcanoes in the region. This image of its stunning color was snapped in March 2017.
7. This time-lapse of the Lena River Delta in Siberia emerging from winter was captured in June 2019.
6. In the Sacramento Valley in California, rice fields (in blue) populate the landscape. This image was captured in December 2018.
5. A monstrous lava flow spreading across Iceland was captured in September 2014.
4. Along the coast of Alaska, the Yukon River Delta empties into the Bering Sea. This false-color image of the land was captured in May 2021.
3. These crop circles in Egypt were captured in February 2017.
2. The vibrant purples and yellows of China’s ginseng farms were spotted in September 2017.
1. Seasonal images of the Central Siberian Plateau, captured between 2016 and 2020, document the constantly changing landscape.
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