NASA's new bright GOES-17 satellite had a difficult start last week when officials revealed that the spacecraft's cooling system is not working as it should. The satellite manipulators are still working hard to solve that particular problem, but that does not stop NASA from taking some snapshots to show what their new tool is capable of, and how nice they are.
The newly published images show the The western hemisphere of the Earth is bathed in sunlight, and the size and detail of the photos are really something to behold. As an additional gift, NASA has badembled a short animation that links several photos taken with the new satellite, showing the rays of the Sun dancing on the surface of the Earth while the night swallows the rest.
If you've seen pictures of Earth before (and I'm sure you've done that) you could look at the image above and not really see what all this fuss is about. The photo is not as impressive as when it is reduced and piled into a slot the size of a column, so do yourself a favor and check out the full resolution image that NASA has provided. Warning: with 82MB, it will take a few seconds to load everything, especially if you are on your mobile.
Once you bring the image closer to the original resolution of the photo, you will see how incredibly detailed it is. That is, you can see incredibly small features of the surface, light tufts of clouds and even the shape of the ocean floor in shallow areas. It's pretty wild.
After you have been sufficiently impressed by the still picture, watch the time-lapse animation to have your jaw drop again.
My only complaint here is that the video exceeds the 1080p resolution. That's pretty clear, but it would have been amazing to see our big blue marble in 1440p or 4k. In any case, it is clear that the new NASA satellite has great power and will be an invaluable tool for meteorologists and forecasters. Let's just keep our fingers crossed so that they realize the problems of the cooling system.