Seeing is believing

Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

The influence humans have had on the planet can be seen from space. Viewing Earth at night, we see the lights of countless villages, towns, and cities. Fires from slash-and-burn farming and the burn-off of natural gas in oil fields appear in red and yellow. This perspective unveils the breadth of human activity on Earth. It spans the globe.

From footpaths to freeways and fire pits to pit mines, we humans have always altered our surroundings. Evidence of our efforts to survive and thrive is written nearly everywhere on Earth’s surface.

(For more images, see the NASA Earth Observatory's "World of Change" page.)