Some of us celebrated Earth Day 2011 by turning out the lights, picking up plastic from the beach or riding our bicycles to work. At NASA, astronauts, scientists and technicians found a unique way to pay homage to the Earth: by assembling a compendium of prodigious planetary portraits snapped from the International Space Station.
Among the images is a space shuttle shot from 2010, which is of particular sentimental import to NASA now that the shuttle program has been retired for good.
Also included in the NASA Earth Day 2011 collection are Mount Everest and the Himalayas, pastel-colored desert dunes and highlands, vertiginous canyons, iridescent city lights, erupting volcanoes and estuaries abundant with wildlife. The oldest photographs date back to 2000, and one even depicts the smoke trail created by the events of September 11 2001 in New York City.