|Blue Marble, 2015. Image obtained from NASA Earth Observatory.|
Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal.
~ Fred RogersWe were looking heavenward last Nature Nerd Wednesday, and will continue that theme today. Or rather, we're looking from the heavens back at ourselves. Today is World Photography Day, and I thought, what better way to mark the day than literally with a photo of our world? The image above was captured by the DSCOVR satellite in early July of this year.
These "blue marble" photos always astound me. My mind struggles to grasp the magnitude; to think that everything we know is contained within the hazy blue outlines of that sphere suspended in the blackness of space. Earth might appear static and distant, but beneath those swirling white clouds are bustling cities and office buildings filled with people; there are farms and fields and singing birds; there are waves crashing on beaches and as-yet-unseen creatures swimming in the depths of those blue oceans; there are hot winds blowing across lonesome deserts; there are glacier-covered mountains, cold rivers, and shadowy forests; there are all of the people we've ever known and loved... somewhere on that blue marble.
Squinting at the photo, I can trace the coastline of North America northward, until it reaches a dark green band near the Pacific coast, within which I could be found at the moment this image was captured, completely unaware that my photo was being taken by a satellite orbiting Earth at four times the distance of the moon. Completely unaware that I was participating in the world's largest family photo, wherein borders do not exist, faraway places are brought close, and it is made plainly clear that all of us - humans, wildlife, plants, ecosystems - share in common this one, finite, extraordinary home.