In November 2016, NASA partnered up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and created a weather satellite called GOES-R.
After GOES-R was launched into orbit, it got a new name – GOES-16. It is the most advanced weather satellite ever built and is specially equipped with a high-tech camera in order to capture Earth more clearly than ever before.
— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) January 23, 2017
Today, GOES-16 sent its much-awaited first images back to earth, including an update of the iconic “Blue Marble” image captured during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
The stunning shot shows a full-disc view of the Western Hemisphere in high detail that’s four times better than other existing GOES spacecraft.
The pictures are gorgeous but are more than just a pretty face.
The GOES 16’s camera will snap high-res pictures of Earth every fifteen minutes and the U.S every five minutes in order to keep an eye on extreme weather with greater accuracy. These images will not only give us amazing pictures of Earth but also give better weather forecasts and perhaps life-saving warnings about storms.
Spectral bands, like the ones seen above, can detect more information about details such as dust, clouds, winds, fires and volcanic ash. They can also be relayed to earth in just 30 seconds, five times faster than previous technology.
NOAA compared the first images to “high-definitions from the heavens” and said that the images were like “seeing a newborn baby’s first pictures.”
GOES-16 is situated in geostationary orbit, about 35,000 kilometres above Earth.
The scientists are so pumped about it that they are already working on a second satellite in the GOES series, which is named GOES-S for now. After being launched it will follow NOAA’s naming convention and be changed to GOES-17.
For some more totally SFW Earth porn, check out the full gallery here.