In the words of Carl Sagan, "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena." But to us, it's everything. The place where we live, love, work and play. The place where we are born and where we die. From space, Earth is big, blue and beautiful; fragile and inspiring. It's the only planet we've ever been to. In honor of Earth Day, take a moment to enjoy some spectacular images of our home, available for download, in our gallery below. And take a moment to appreciate the only home we've ever known.
LATEST IMAGE: Earth from Mars
This photo from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the Earth as seen from the surface of Mars, shining brighter than any star in the Martian night sky. Earth is the bright point of light a little left of the image’s center and our moon can be seen just below Earth. Curiosity, which landed on the red planet on August 6, 2013, is the largest and most advanced rover ever sent to Mars. It studies the geology of its surroundings and has found evidence of a past environment well-suited to support microbial life.
Researchers used the left-eye camera of Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) to capture this scene about 80 minutes after sunset on the 529th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (January 31, 2014). The image has been processed to remove cosmic-ray effects. A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct bright evening ‘stars’. When Curiosity took the photo, Earth was about 99 million miles (160 million kilometers) from Mars.
This picture adds to our collection of photos of planet Earth from afar, giving a unique perspective to our place in the cosmos.