Earth in true and false color as seen by MESSENGER
Filed under pretty pictures, global views, pics of Earth by planetary missions, Earth
This pair of images represents the same viewpoint on Earth through two different sets of filters on the MESSENGER spacecraft. On top, three filters in red, green, and blue wavelengths were combined to make an image that approximates what the human eye would see. The green mass at the center is the Amazon jungle of South America. The deserts of West Africa are just visible on the edge of the Earth's disk below and to the right of South America. The bottom image is "pushed" into the near infrared; instead of red, green, and blue, it is composed of images taken through near-infrared, red, and green filters. Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plant leaves, is very strongly reflective at near infrared wavelengths, much more so than it is in red or green wavelengths, so the vegetated parts of Earth burst into bright red color.
NASA / JHUAPL
The spacecraft was 102,918 kilometers (63,950 miles) away from Earth when the images were taken. At full resolution, they represent only 1/10 the level of detail that MDIS will achieve in its global, multispectral mapping of Mercury. These images were captured on August 2, 2005.
Original image data dated on or about August 2, 2005