Blue Marble - 2002

This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public. This record includes preview images and links to full resolution versions up to 21,600 pixels across.


Much of the information contained in this image came from a single remote-sensing device-NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS. Flying over 700 km above the Earth onboard the Terra satellite, MODIS provides an integrated tool for observing a variety of terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric features of the Earth. The land and coastal ocean portions of these images are based on surface observations collected from June through September 2001 and combined, or composited, every eight days to compensate for clouds that might block the sensor’s view of the surface on any single day. Two different types of ocean data were used in these images: shallow water true color data, and global ocean color (or chlorophyll) data. Topographic shading is based on the GTOPO 30 elevation dataset compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS Data Center. MODIS observations of polar sea ice were combined with observations of Antarctica made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s AVHRR sensor—the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. The cloud image is a composite of two days of imagery collected in visible light wavelengths and a third day of thermal infra-red imagery over the poles. Global city lights, derived from 9 months of observations from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, are superimposed on a darkened land surface map.


To view an animation of this image go here:


For the western view of the "Blue Marble" go here:


Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights).


Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


NASA image use policy.


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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  • Doda -Maryoga 4y

    A most effective image !!!
  • mothernature photography 4y

    Thank you NASA for this beautiful overview of Earth. If any place would be central to me it would be Antarctica, don't think we fully appreciate how it impacts all our lives. Every inch of Earth is precious; that is what Earth Day is about, a reminder of how beautiful and yet fragile it really is.
  • srirang1 4y

    Oh my favorite planet!! How I love you!
  • Σταύρος 4y

    Happy Easter to you and your family..:)
  • RavenDragon 4y

    Beautiful Big Blue we're all Babies to.


    View of Asian side much appreciated too.

    Get Moose: thanks for the alt shots!
  • Rosário Marques 4y

    Thanks for sharing.

    EXCELLENT! seen in
    " (point of view)comment on 1 sweeper active"

    collect 5 awards to get the excellence award
  • anadah 4y

    what a nice place called Earth :)
    (show us some Europe)
  • suelen_anjohnson 4y

    Lindo o nosso planeta!
  • Punkiitha_lacool 4y

    wow splend our mother earth!
  • Essam Al Hedek 3y

  • Johnatan Salazar 3y

    nasa still use hasselblad and carl zeiss???
  • jossac 3y

    ¡Ya me vi! ¡Extraordinaria imagen! Hay que cuidar más a nuestra grande y hermosa canica azul.
  • carlos__23 3y

    how come there are no other stars around the Earth?
  • aGoodOfferForYou 3y

    An Incredible picture but.... Can you take a picture to something different that USA?.. the world is bigger than your country.
  • kdalge 3y

    amazing...the reason it is generally of north america is because of the orbit. the other hemisphere is too close to get into one shot, they have to combine many images.
  • anjoudiscus 3y

    Précieuse !
  • gwalkusa2003 3y

  • scottvw213 3y

    why is North America bigger in this photo than in previous images of Earth?
  • Chand Pandey 2y

    Its biger amazing part of the earth
  • sroth0616 11mo


    (Posted: 06/22/2014.)
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Taken on February 8, 2002
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