Earth Day isn’t just about planting trees. It’s about appreciating what a complex, living machine our planet is. And we’re better equipped to do that now than ever before, thanks to an army of Earth-orbiting satellites collecting real-time data on everything from the ozone layer to sea level changes to the abundance of tiny green life forms in the ocean.
In tribute to the best real estate in the galaxy, the European Space Agency has put together a short compilation of some of Earth’s many faces. Even if you don’t participate in an Earth Day celebration, you might take a moment to consider the fact that a thin layer of nitrogen and oxygen, sustained by an even thinner layer of plants and microbes, sitting atop a tectonically active surface that’s heated just the right amount thanks to our very good fortune of living in the habitable zone of a G-type star, is all that’s keeping you, and everyone you love, from freezing your butts off in a cosmic void.
Happy Earth Day.