NASA celebrated this Earth Day by asking people around the globe to click a selfie, answer the question "Where are you on Earth right now?" and post it on social media on 22 April.
50,000 selfies were submitted by people, which were assembled into a mosaic, thereby creating a "Global Selfie" of the entire Earth. The aim was to celebrate Earth Day and spread environmental awareness. This mosaic was released by NASA on 22 May, exactly a month after the "Global Selfie" was created.
NASA received images from 113 different countries through social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Flickr, using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie or the #GlobalSelfie Facebook event page and the #GlobalSelfie Flickr group to develop a crowd-sourced image of Earth - a new "Blue Marble", built gradually using #GlobalSelfie photos.
All images were compiled to create a 3.2 gigapixel mosaic of the entire Earth and was dubbed "a new Blue Marble built bit by bit with your photos". The mosaic was created using 36,422 individual images, each comprising of one pixel. From Antarctica to Yemen, Micronesia to the Maldives, Greenland to Guatemala, Pakistan, Poland and countries from different corners of the world participated in the project, according to the NASA news release.
The mosaic includes images of each hemisphere, which is captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard the Suomi National Polar Orbiting Partnership Satellite. It is zoomable and can be scanned and scrolled to view individual images.
The NASA team was highly overjoyed with the huge participation of people across the world in the project and Antarctica was even represented in the images submitted, revealed Peg Luce, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in the news release.
"We're very grateful that people took the time to celebrate our home planet together, and we look forward to everyone doing their part to be good stewards of our precious Earth," Luce pointed out.
Environmental awareness was one of the "selfie" goals of NASA as the space agency is planning for its five missions for studying Earth, and its atmosphere, land and oceans.
For the first time in over a decade, NASA is set to launch five missions to collect critical data about Earth in 2014. In February, Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory was launched, followed by Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) that is set to launch on 1 July from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.
In recent years, NASA scientists have helped identify thousands of new planets but the space agency invests more on studying our planet Earth more closely than any other planet. Currently, NASA has 17 Earth-observing satellites in orbit that are supported by ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. The data collected from these satellites help NASA scientists understand and get a better picture of the atmosphere around our planet, ocean and land.