An EPIC Shot of Earth From Space
The Deep Space Climate Observatory or the DSCOVR satellite took this photograph of the sunlit Earth. It’s the first taken since Apollo 17 in 1972. The satellite was first constructed as part of the Triana project back in 1998. It was built to provide continuous views of Earth, measure how much sun is reflected from the Earth, and monitor solar wind. The project was put on hold in 2001 and the unfinished satellite stored away.
In 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force decided to finish the satellite and place it into a new program called Project DSCOVR.
On February 11, 2015, the DSCOVR satellite was launched into space and just completed a one million mile journey to its final orbit around the Earth at a distance four times further away than the orbit of the moon. The gravitational pull between the Earth and Sun keeps the satellite a stable orbital distance.
The Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera on board will take pictures of the Earth every 12 to 36 hours in order to measure ozone and aerosol levels in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as cloud height, vegetation properties, and the ultraviolet reflectivity of Earth.
Images of the full Earth taken after the Apollo 17 mission have been mosaic portraits stitching together smaller pictures into a complete view of the Earth. Instead, the images from the EPIC camera from Project DSCOVR are one complete picture of the Earth. It is hoped that the project will lead scientists to a better understanding of Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and humanity’s impact on our climate.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Jason Cerjak
(Image: NASA Earth Observatory)