From Above

While searching for a Long Short that could help us visualize the Anthropocene for Mark Lynas’ SALT, we came upon an amazing resource: The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Contained therein are well over a million images of our planet taken from space.

And since NASA is a public institution paid for by American tax dollars, their policy for using the photos is basically, “They’re yours – have at ‘em!” (Just give them some credit – they did go to space to take them for us…)

One particularly exciting section within this massive collection is a series of photos taken by astronauts on the International Space Station using low-light cameras. Stitched together into videos, these images create amazing time-lapse depictions of the Earth and human civilization rotating and pulsing in a starry sky. Despite being over 200 miles below, humanity features significantly in the videos, weaving across the landscape, clustering around water sources and glowing through cloud cover.

Long Now videographer Chris Baldwin created a compilation of some of those videos and set it to Brian Eno’s aptly titled ‘Late Anthropocene’ from Small Craft on a Milk Sea.

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The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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