~~May 7, 2015~~
For more than 40 years, NASA (and, since 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey) has enlisted Landsat satellites to continuously document our home planet — kind of like an extreme, orbital version of the selfie stick. This unbroken record, consisting of millions of images of the earth’s surface, helps scientists track environmental changes over time.
The video by Vox strings together pictures taken from 1972 to 2014 to show how deforestation, water use, urban sprawl, electricity, and climate change have dramatically altered certain landscapes.
Though the footage focuses on just five areas on this big planet, human activity has had a visible impact on countless others — and the stories that emerge from the Landsat program’s data often aren’t pretty.
I think we can all agree that the earth deserves a better set of before-and-after shots.
“As it appears in … full credit”
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
~Five human activities you can see from space~~
~~Published on May 1, 2015~~
Satellites have been watching us for 40 years. Here’s what their images reveal.
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We ALL are ONE!!