NASA Releases 3 Million Thermal Images of Our Planet Earth


Since 1999, NASA has used ASTER (Japan’s Advanced Space­borne Ther­mal Emis­sion and Reflec­tion Radiome­ter) to gath­er images of the Earth­’s sur­face, pro­vid­ing a way to “map and mon­i­tor the chang­ing sur­face of our plan­et.” They’ve mapped 99% of the plan­et’s sur­face over the years, gen­er­at­ing near­ly three mil­lion images, show­ing all kinds of things — “from mas­sive scars across the Okla­homa land­scape from an EF‑5 tor­na­do and the dev­as­tat­ing after­math of flood­ing in Pak­istan, to vol­canic erup­tions in Ice­land and wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia.”


And now, NASA is let­ting the pub­lic down­load and use those images at no cost. (Read the NASA announce­ment here.) You can access most of the images through a NASA data­base, and a small­er sub­set via an ASTER web­site.

To be com­plete­ly hon­est, you’ll need some patience and tech­ni­cal chops to fig­ure out how to down­load these images. The method was­n’t obvi­ous to me. If any­one has some clar­i­ty on that, please let us know in the com­ments, and we’ll update the post to include your insights.

Up top, see an aer­i­al shot of The Andes Moun­tains in Chile/Bolivia. Fur­ther down a shot of the Lena Riv­er in Rus­sia.

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via ABC h/t Illy­Bo­cean

Relat­ed Con­tent:

NASA Puts Online a Big Col­lec­tion of Space Sounds, and They’re Free to Down­load and Use

Free NASA eBook The­o­rizes How We Will Com­mu­ni­cate with Aliens

NASA Archive Col­lects Great Time-Lapse Videos of our Plan­et

Ray Brad­bury Reads Mov­ing Poem on the Eve of NASA’s 1971 Mars Mis­sion

Great Cities at Night: Views from the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion

NASA Presents “The Earth as Art” in a Free eBook and Free iPad App

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.