NASA collected thousands of self-portraits on Earth Day this year to make a massive "Global Selfie." Although the name makes my skin crawl, the end effect is neat. Of course my favourite contributing photographs are all fictional characters.

The individual photos are blended with actual satellite data from the same day, using images from the Suomi NPP polar orbiting satellite.


For the full interactive zooming experience, view the mosaic on Gigapan. It can be fun to blindly prowl around at high-zoom, but I find it most interesting to enable the snapshots scrollbar along the bottom. Once you spot something interesting, you can mouseover an individual portrait to see it highlighted on the mosaic, or click to zoom.

I've already found my favourite bit: Jed, the irrepressibly cheerful explorer from the Kerbal Space Program, is hanging out in the turbulent waters of the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Elmo from Sesame Street is loitering in Europe, enjoying a quick latte before rejoining in the alphabet games. Other fictional submissions include Globey from Pee-Wee Herman's Playhouse, and Smokey Bear. Other space programs also sneak in, with a PhoneSat high-altitude test using the planet as a backdrop for a photograph to be incorporated in a mosaic of the planet (how meta!).


While over 50,000 images were tagged with #globalselfie on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Flickr., NASA had to wade through and curate images that were accessible and "usable." (The press release fails to specify if unusable images were disallowed for technical or aesthetic grounds; I have to assume with that many submissions, at least a few were utterly inappropriate for a family-friendly government organization.) The 36,422 images include photographs of people on every continent in 113 countries and regions.

Jeb-tip via Doug Ellison. What's your favourite submitted photo included in the mosaic?