This past April, NASA asked the smartphone-wielding citizens of the world to help the space agency paint a new portrait of the planet.
Using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie and the simple inquiry “Where are you on Earth right now?” people from over 100 countries submitted selfies via a myriad of social media sites to help NASA create a 3.2-gigapixel image comprised of 36,422 individual photos.
Though there have been other large-scale selfie projects in the past, this is the first selfie collage to represent Earth from space.
The final mosaic, hosted by GigaPan, is an interactive site that allows visitors to zoom in on certain countries and get snippets of selfie-takers in each zone. According to NASA, the mosaic is based on views of each hemisphere that were captured on April 22nd, through an instrument called a Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite that rests on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite.
NASA also explained on its website that 2014 is a big year for the group, as for the first time in over a decade it organized five separate missions to gather data about the planet from space.
NASA scientists have helped identify thousands of new planets in recent years,” says the website, “but the space agency studies no planet more closely than our own.”
There are 17 Earth-observing satellites currently in orbit, helping it create a clearer picture of the atmosphere, land, and ocean.
NASA also made some videos about the selfie project, which you can check out below:
Read more over on NASA’s site.