Are you tired of the rocky red vistas of Mars already? Well, that was quick, but never fear: here is a truly glorious pic of a planet that is green and blue and some even think is host to lifeforms intelligent enough to have a space-faring capability. There is always a downside though, and this particular blue marble is also home to politics, war, and something the natives call Kardashians.
Yeah, it’s planet Earth, but my god will you look at that? This is the first image taken from the European geostationary weather satellite MSG-3. The MSG stands for Meteosat Second Generation and its job is to watch the weather patterns developing over Europe and Africa to give better short-range forecasts. In addition to the usual weather stuff, the MSG-3 will also measure the amount of solar radiation that the Earth radiates back into space to better understand climate processes. It also has a search-and-rescue transponder so that someone can find you when your emergency beacon goes off during your next ill-fated expedition to find a civilization of hyper-intelligent gorillas in the middle of Africa.
Seeing a picture like this in contrast to all the recent coverage of the Mars Science Laboratory, it puts into perspective what a truly “living” planet looks like. The green-covered surfaces, blue-liquid surface water, and active yet not over powering weather systems that indicate this is a good home for life is starkly different from the barren slopes and near cloudless skies of Mars. You may or may not be caught up in all the excitement surrounding the Mars Curiosity rover, but in our quest to find life elsewhere sometimes it’s good to pause for a moment and think about how lucky we are to have this blue and green jewel in our solar system.
From Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot…
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.
Here’s a link to the jaw-dropping hi-res image.