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On Earth Day, here’s the view from space

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This image from NASA's EarthKAM shows Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The superb natural harbor at Lisbon is a commercially important European port handling much of the import-export traffic for Portugal and Spain.
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This image was acquired by NASA's Terra satellite on May 2, 2000 over the North Patagonia Ice Sheet in Chile, South America.
This image acquired on February 5, 2013, by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Danube Delta has a number of lobes formed over the past several thousand years, and this image is focused largely on the northernmost Chilia (or Kilia) lobe.
This image acquired on February 5, 2013, by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Danube Delta has a number of lobes formed over the past several thousand years, and this image is focused largely on the northernmost Chilia (or Kilia) lobe.
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This image from NASA's EarthKAM captures almost all of Quinghai, the largest lake in China. It is located in the Quinghai Province on the Quinghai Tibetan Plateau.

The view from space of our planet’s most impressive natural and constructed landmarks is striking, and not just on this year’s Earth Day.

The long and winding Grand Canyon; the European Union’s longest river, the Danube; and the 13,000 miles of the Great Wall of China become almost abstract works of art when photographed from space.

NASA astronaut Victor Glover Jr., who conducted his third spacewalk in late February, talked then about how fragile Earth looks from space, and “just how special it is for there to be human life on this planet.”

“It makes me want to do all that I can to protect that,” Glover said.

Many of the photos shown here were shot by EarthKAM, a project started in 1995 by the late Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. It was first called KidSat. It allows middle school students around the world to ask for images of locations on Earth.

The EarthKAM camera flew on two more shuttle flights before moving to the International Space Station in 2001, according to NASA. Sally Ride died in 2012, and NASA renamed the program Sally Ride EarthKAM the following year. It remains a permanent payload on the ISS.

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