• Sahara desert, western Algeria

    Date:18 July 2012 Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    The sandy and rocky terrain of the Sahara desert in western Algeria. With the Mediterranean Sea almost 500 km away, the closest town to the area pictured here is Taghit in the Algerian province of Béchar. The commercial Ikonos-2 satellite acquired this image on 23 April 2008 at a spatial resolution of 4 metres. Image credit: European Space Agency | EUSI

    Launched in 2002, the European Space Agency’s Envisat Earth observation satellite is the largest Earth observation spacecraft ever built. Envisat is now retiring after 10 magnificent years – double its planned mission lifetime.

    In this wallpaper collection, we feature a very small sample of the formidably large collection of images captured by the eight-ton satellite – equipped with 10 sophisticated optical and radar instruments – in more than 50 000 orbits, together with images from ESA’s so-called “Third Party” missions. Envisat has contributed immeasurably to our knowledge of Earth, its weather patterns, oceans, atmosphere, environmental challenges and myriad other processes.