NASA’s shiny new GOES-17 satellite got off to something of a rocky start last week as officials revealed that the spacecraft’s cooling system is, well, not working like it should. The satellite’s handlers are still working hard at solving that particular issue, but that’s not stopping NASA from taking a few snapshots to show off what its new tool is capable of, and boy are they pretty.
The newly-released images show the Earth’s Western Hemisphere bathed in sunlight, and the size and detail of the photos are really something to behold. As an added treat, NASA has put together a brief animation that stitches together several photos taken with the new satellite, showing the Sun’s rays dance across Earth’s surface while night swallows up the rest.
If you’ve seen photos of the Earth before (and I’m sure you have) you might look at the image above and not really see what all the fuss is about. The photo isn’t nearly as awe-inspiring when it’s shrunken down and crammed into a column-sized slot, so do yourself a favor and check out the full-resolution image NASA has provided. Warning: At a whopping 82MB, it’s going to take you a few seconds to actually load the entire thing, especially if you’re on mobile.
Once you’re zoomed in to the photo’s original resolution you’ll see just how incredibly detailed it is. I mean, you can see incredibly tiny features of the surface, light wisps of clouds, and even the shape of the ocean floor in shallow areas. It’s pretty wild.
After you’ve been sufficiently wowed by the still photo, check out the time-lapse animation to have your jaw drop all over again.
My only complaint here is that the video tops out at 1080p resolution. That’s pretty sharp, but it would have been awesome to see our big blue marble in 1440p or 4k. In any case, it’s clear that NASA’s new satellite has some serious power, and will be an invaluable tool for weather watchers and forecasters. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that they get the cooling system woes figured out.