Leland Melvin: Our Blue Planet Seen Off Planet

“I think about how we can take this message further, through the arts, education, engineering — all these things are so important. We can change our world in a positive way.”  – Leland Melvin


NASA astronaut Leland Melvin has seen the oceans from a vantage point few will experience first-hand: outer space. In his Parley Talk, Leland explains that "you almost need new definitions for blue" when viewing the oceans from hundreds of miles above the surface. Even in the outermost reaches of our atmosphere, it’s clear we inhabit an ocean planet. 

If you were to orbit the Earth in the International Space Station, you’d get to enjoy a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes. You would circumnavigate the globe in just about 90 minutes. The view out the window would reveal the incredible beauty of a finite planet. It would also reveal a lot of water; for about 75 percent of your trip, that view of Earth would be blue.



Through a series of images taken from the International Space Station, Leland highlights the beauty and fragility of our oceans alongside evidence of their destruction in the Anthropocene, the many ways man has reshaped the surface of the Earth. With a focus on the arts, engineering and youth education, he offers a message of hope and optimism for our future. After all, as he puts it, “there’s a lot of love in the oceans.”




Learn more about Leland Melvin.

Watch live Earth views from the International Space Station.


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