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North America

The third largest continent, North America is a land of many facets: frozen tundra, rugged mountains, high plains, deserts, and lowland forests.


Image date: c. 2002


Part of the US Geological Survey's "Earth as Art 2" collection of images taken by the Landsat 7 satellite, the ASTER instrument aboard the Terra satellite, and the MODIS instruments aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites.


Since 1972, Landsat satellites have collected from space information about Earth’s continents and coastal areas, enabling scientists to study many aspects of the planet and to evaluate changes caused by both natural processes and human practices. This image was created by visualizing both visible-light and infrared data in colors visible to the human eye; band combinations and colors were chosen to optimize their dramatic appearance.


Credit: MODIS/U.S. Geological Survey [source has higher resolution version]

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Taken on September 23, 2004