Since its launch 10 years ago, in 1999, the Landsat 7 satellite has been orbiting the Earth under the command of NASA and the USGS, compiling incredible images of our planet as seen from space.
As part of an effort to introduce the public to the research work completed by the Landsat Program, the USGS National Center for EROS introduced the "Earth As Art" online gallery of pictures taken by Landsat 7 and other satellite-borne sensors, including the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) aboard the Terra Satellite, and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).
The USGS explains how these scenes -- developed for "their aesthetic beauty, rather than for scientific value" -- were made: "Various combinations of the eight Landsat 7 spectral bands were selected to create the vivid RGB composites featured on this site."
See the Earth as it appears from space in the stunning photos of rivers, volcanoes, deserts, and more in the slideshow below.
Images courtesy of USGS National Center for EROS and NASA Landsat Project Science Office. Image descriptions by USGS National Center for EROS and NASA Landsat Project Science Office.