Wednesday, June 11, 2008

City Lights from Space

The photographs of Earth taken by the Apollo astronauts, which framed the Earth as a whole in the lonely context of space, helped foster an environmental ethos--that every place on the planet was made visible for the first time. Technical innovations accomplished by NASA and NOAA create a new level of clarity, allowing us to see for the first time the shape of our urban footprint.

1 comment:

Ben Peters said...

Fascinating post. What strikes me as particularly interesting is how the electrically lit urban environment--read very broadly, almost mythologically--appears from space to be reflecting the heavens as viewed from the ground. It is admittedly, as you point out, a rather ordered reflection of the skies--an urban footprint. The idea that a footprint might also belong to the genre of constellations--that lit rural life at night looks like the nocturnal sky, while the urban life at night looks like circuitry and well-ordered nebula--may be old news, but that's what the really great picture made me think of.