Martians-Eye View of the Mess We've Made

There hasn't been any shortage of aerial views of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but this natural color, high resolution satellite shot reinforces the fact that this spill introduced something very unnatural to this natural habitat.

Most of the satellite photos of the spill that have been circulating show the oil slick as a pale gray mass swirling ominously off shore. But this shot, "a natural color, 60 centimeter high-resolution DigitalGlobe QuickBird satellite image" which you can view in full size here, is the most striking I've seen yet.

At this point, it's known that the well is pumping 5,000 barrels of oil into the gulf every day. Undersea robots failed to stop the flow, Air Force planes are poised to dump chemicals on the spill, and now thousands of federal workers, volunteers, and National Guard troops are scrambling to keep the oil from reaching the coast.

Still, from space, the immensity of the spill is evident, and the tiny speck of an airplane flying above only serves to provide a disheartening sense of scale to the catastrophe. [DigitalGlobe via PopSci]