NASA's 19-Gigapixel Filmstrip of the Earth from Russia to South Africa

A meditation on the diversity of Earth.
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NASA's Landsat satellites have been snapping pictures of the Earth from orbit since 1972. The most recent iteration of the project, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, arrived at its orbital resting place on April 12, and shot this series of 56 images shortly thereafter. NASA stitched the pictures together into one long strip, which you can tour in the video above.

As always, satellite images testify to the wonder of the biosphere. This particular set of pictures, though, is a simple meditation on the diversity of conditions on Earth, and the mark that humanity has left on the planet.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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