Earth From Space: Classic NASA Photos (Gallery)

Portrait of Global Aerosols

William Putman, NASA/Goddard

This portrait of global aerosols was produced by the NASA Center for Climate Simulation at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Dust (red) is lifted from the surface, sea salt (blue) swirls inside cyclones, smoke (green) rises from fires, and sulfate particles (white) stream from volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions.

Aquarius Sea Surface Salinity

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

The Aquarius spacecraft is designed to measure global sea surface salinity. It is important to understand salinity, the amount of dissolved salts in water, because it will lead us to better understanding of the water cycle and can lead to improved climate models.

What Doesn't Stay in Vegas? Sprawl

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Data from the expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada was compiled from the fleet of Landsat satellites. The large red areas are actually green space, mostly golf courses and city parks. The image was created using reflected light from the near-infrared, red and green portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.


NASA/Kathryn Hansen

The terrain for the scientific work conducted by ICESCAPE scientists on July 4, 2010, was Arctic sea ice and melt ponds in the Chukchi Sea. The five-week field mission was dedicated to sampling the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the ocean and sea ice.



TIROS undergoes vibration testing at the Astro-Electronic Products Division of RCA in Princeton, New Jersey. On April 1, 1960, a satellite designed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) launched to become the nation's first weather satellite. That satellite, the Television InfraRed Observational Satellite, or TIROS 1, operated for only 78 days but demonstrated the feasibility of monitoring Earth's cloud cover and weather patterns from space.

Katrina in the Gulf


NASA spacecraft watched closely in 2005 as a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season yielded 27 named storms, including the devastating Hurricane Katrina, seen here at full strength in an Aug. 29, 2005 image from the GOES-12 weather satellite.

The Ocean Chromatic


This image shows the abundance of life in the sea, measured by the SeaWiFS instrument aboard the Seastar satellite. Dark blue represents warmer areas where there is little life due to lack of nutrients, and greens and reds represent cooler nutrient-rich areas.

Changing Sea Ice Along Antarctic Peninsula


Changing weather conditions left their mark on sea ice along the Antarctic Peninsula in late 2008 and early 2009. In mid-December 2008, melt water resting on the sea ice colored it sky blue. At the beginning of 2009, however, the sea ice appeared snowy white, and cracks had begun along the ice margin. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite captured these images on December 13, 2008 (left), and January 2, 2009 (right). Both images show the northern portion of the Antarctic Peninsula.

NASA Satellite Shows Tornado's Track in Arkansas

Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.

This image, acquired on April 28, 2014, shows what appears to be a tornado track north of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Earth at Night


This composite image, which has become a popular poster, shows a global view of Earth at night, compiled from over 400 satellite images. NASA researchers have used these images of nighttime lights to study weather around urban areas.

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