This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012.
Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
This Earth Day, NASA is launching a competition for anyone who's ever wanted to send the planet a love letter.
The U.S. space agency announced this week that beginning this Earth Day (April 22), it will start taking submissions for its second annual Earth Day video contest. Planetary science buffs-turned-shutterbugs, or vice versa, will get the chance to produce and edit short videos showing off their creative perspectives on our home planet — all to win a uniquely NASA prize.
In a press release, NASA said that its science "has changed how we think about exploring the Earth or even how we see the Earth."
To celebrate the Blue Marble, the agency is asking video producers to shed a little light on just how that science may have influenced their own views. That might mean viewing the Earth with a little humility, such as regarding it as a pinpoint of light as seen billions of miles away by the Voyager probes. Or maybe with a sense of the planet's constant change, such as appreciating the churning winds of an El Niño event.
Last year's winning video, for instance, meditated on Earth's seemingly unique ability, at least as far as this solar system is concerned, to host life.
NASA directs participants to keep their entire video short, no more than two minutes long. They also ask that those that enter draw from its wide catalog of visualization tools, which include videos shot from the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth and computer simulations of weather events.
The winner of the contest, who will be announced after the competition's close on May 31, will have the chance to watch NASA science unfold firsthand during the launch of a new rocket in January 2013, part of the agency's Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). Think of it as a gala Hollywood event just for space nerds.