In 2001, ASTER spotted Morocco's Anti-Atlas Mountains, which formed about 80 million years ago. Colors signify different rock types: The yellowish, orange and green areas are limestones, sandstones and gypsum.
10 Stunning Pictures from NASA's Release of 3 Million Images
We pored through the massive set of images of Earth from space to show you some of our favorites.
NASA has made nearly 3 million images taken by ASTER—a Japan-U.S. instrument aboard NASA's flagship Terra satellite—freely available to the public.
The massive photo dump, announced on April 1, gives scientists worldwide easier access to archives of the instrument, which records Earth's geology and weather with 14 different channels of visible and infrared light.
The instrument's flexibility—and enviable vantage point—has made it a key to scientists' monitoring of Earth systems. Since Terra launched in 1999, scientists have used ASTER data to do everything from track glacial melting to monitor thousands of Earth's active volcanoes.
"All our lives, we look from five feet up," says Michael Abrams, the U.S. ASTER science team leader. "When we get really