NASA / JHUAPL / Carnegie Institution of Washington
View of Earth from MESSENGER
The MESSENGER probe did a flyby of Earth, whipping around the planet at an altitude (at closest approach) of 2,348 kilometers and a maximum speed (relative to the ground) of nearly 11 kilometers per second. This tremendous distance and speed meant that MESSENGER could provide no more than a fleeting glimpse of the Earth below, but the view’s unique perspective makes it worth sharing. This image shows the Pacific Ocean in the center, South America on the right and North America on the left. Smoke from fires in the Amazon obscured the lush vegetation of the rainforest, while just left of the apex of the globe, Tropical Storm Harvey was taking shape in the Atlantic Ocean.