There is nothing that puts life’s little trivialities in perspective quite like seeing yourself. Get outside your own perspective and look at yourself. See your own weakness. Now, that is all very well and good as a personal and psychological idea. But this is hard as a scientific endeavor. Back in 1998, Al Gore proposed a spacecraft that would sit between the Earth and the Sun, constantly sending back live images our blue sphere.
‘Wouldn’t it be nice,’ Gore asked in 1998, ‘to have that image continuous, live, 24 hours a day?'”
And so a mission was proposed to send a probe to a spot a million miles from Earth — a place known as the L1 Lagrange point, where the gravity of the Earth and the sun cancel each other out. The space probe, originally dubbed Triana, would point a telescope with a color camera back at our planet from L1, and send images down to Earth. At the very least, it’s a cool view. At best we would inspire the next generation to see Earth in its fragility and help us to tend to it future. Today, NASA announced that this view will be available every day on a new website dedicated to publishing these images. It took nearly 20 years to make this happen, but now the idea born by Al Gore is alive.
The prime science goal of this Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), is to “maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.” This makes it a vital early warning of pending solar storms. But the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) was included as part of the package, and these data may steal the show.
Each daily sequence of images will reveal the whole globe over the course of a day. Image sequences from all previous days will also be archived on the site and can be searched by date and continent.
The new age of seeing ourselves as we really are has begun.