There are a couple of different types of imaging satellites currently orbiting our planet. On one end of the spectrum are specialized satellites that gather very high-resolution imagery in which you can identify objects as small as 3 feet across. On the other are the lower resolution satellites that beam down photos of larger areas.
California company Planet Labs wants to fill the space in-between, by providing an affordable middle-of-the-road option for companies interested in using it. To that effect, they’re planning on launching 28 tiny, mid-resolution satellites called “Doves” into space before the year is out. Read more…
It looks like not even space photography has managed to escape the pixel war, but in the case of the Russian Federal Space Agency’s Elektro-L weather satellite, we’re not complaining. The video you see above is a time lapse put together from 6 days worth of 121-megapixel images taken every 30 minutes by the satellite. The images themselves are not composites of several either, they are just incredibly detailed photos of the entire planet taken from some 22 thousand miles away.
They’re so detailed, in fact, that the resolution comes out to about 1 kilometer per pixel — or in laymen’s terms: this ain’t no camera phone. To add a little bit of color to the proceedings the images are also taken in 4 rather than just 3 wavelengths, yielding that orange color which is actually infrared imaging of vegetation. You can click here to see some higher resolution photos from the Elektro-L, or here if you want to see some photos of the satellite itself.