A coin-sized camera took a blurry photo of earth and this is why you should care

Photo of Earth Taken on Trisat-R
Earth through a 2-mm lens (Image credit: ESA)

The European Space Agency has just released a photo of Earth which is unlike anything you expect to see from modern space imaging equipment. Earth itself is concealed by a dark shadow, it’s hard to distinguish between areas of land and sea and it looks like someone has forgotten to wipe the lens. However, this image has been taken on a camera no bigger than a 20 Euro cent coin (which is smaller than a quarter) on board the very tiny TRISAT-R CubeSat, a satellite roughly the size of a shoebox.

OK, it's small. But in a post-Hubble, post-James Webb Space Telescope age high-resolution images of deep space are something of a given. Since the JWST launched in December 2021 we’ve been treated to photos of the ring nebula in stunning unseen detail, out-of-this-world photos of distant spiral galaxies and it even discovered an asteroid belt commet with water vapor. So why should you care about a blurry, low-resolution image of Earth taken from 6,000km away? I think it all comes down to size and money. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.