SPACE: Image of Earth on Internet

Kathryn Aegis (
Thu, 12 Mar 1998 19:38:30 +0000

>From the White House press office--Al Gore's latest attempt to cast
himself as a futurist, by proposing a feel-good, wasteful diversion
from other exploration projects. (Not to mention the retrograde
symbolism of gazing nonstop on the Earth after a year in which humans
achieved their deepest sightings into the far reaches of the galaxy,
with Hubble and Deep Field.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday March 13, 1998


Vice President Gore proposed today that NASA scientists and engineers
design, build and operate a satellite that will make available a live
image of earth 24 hours a day on the Internet.

In a speech at the National Innovation Summit at MIT, the Vice
President proposed that NASA launch a new micro satellite that will
provide live images of the earth from space by the year 2000. This
satellite will depict the motions of changing clouds, the advance of
hurricanes, large-scale fires in oil fields or forests and other
phenomena at the precise moment they occur.

'This new satellite, called Triana, will allow people around the
globe to gaze at our planet as it travels in its orbit around the sun
for the first time in history' Vice President Gore said. 'With the
next millenium just around the corner, developing this High
Definition TV quality image of the full disk of the continuously lit
Earth and making it available 24 hours a day on the Internet will
awaken a new generation to the environment and educate millions of
children around the globe.'

'This new space craft will be carred into low earth orbit where a
small motor will place it in orbit 1 million miles from earth at the
L1 point (short for the Langrangian liberation point), the point
between the earth and sun where gravitational attractions are
balanced. The satellite will carry a small telescope and camera to
provide these new compelling images. In the history of space
exploration there are only a few photographs of the full earth that
have resonated with the public. Christmas 1968 was an epiphany for
many Americans, when they first saw the image 'earth rising'. It is
considered one of the fundamentally profound images of this century.
Another photograph, the Blue Marble, taken in 1972 during Apollo 17,
began an era of global awareness.'