See A Daily Portrait Of Earth, In Real Time

The nation’s first deep-space satellite is helping humanity do a daily mirror check.

For Carl Sagan, seeing Voyager 1’s faraway portrait of Earth–humanity’s “pale blue dot”–was a reminder to live with a sense of perspective.


Does that resonate with you? Now you can find out: NASA is offering a daily dose of this kind of perspective, courtesy of NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR)—the nation’s first operational satellite in deep space launched in February.

In the slideshow above, you can see a recent week’s worth of images of the Earth taken by its camera, which is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, a million miles away from our planet’s surface. In October, NASA set up a website where anyone can go to view a sequence of daily images that show the Earth’s full rotation.

The official mission of the satellite is to serve as America’s primary warning system for solar magnetic storms and as a collector of solar wind data. When these storms hit Earth, they can be absolutely beautiful, but they can also cause power outages and impact the navigational systems of planes. A study in 2013 predicted that the most “extreme space weather” could cause up to $2.6 trillion in damages–it’d be good if we had a warning.

According to NASA, DSCOVR is in orbit in a unique location between the sun and Earth that is a “gravity neutral.” That means the satellite can hover between the two bodies, equally attracted to both.

To the untrained eye, the images of Earth may not seem like they change much day to day. But the pictures also reveal changes in the atmosphere, weather, and climate that will be useful to scientists and astronomers.

There’s also a Twitter account you can follow, where you can see a daily animation of images. Enjoy. May you feel a little more at peace.


About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.