Climate model predicts the weather conditions seen in the Blue Marble image

(ORDO NEWS) — Blue Marble was one of the most iconic paintings of the Apollo era.

A fully illuminated image of the Earth taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts during their return flight from the Moon captured what the world looked like on December 7, 1972, just over 50 years ago.

Now a team at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology has recreated this image using a climate model.

This work was the culmination of twenty years of work on climate modeling.

The climate model the scientists have created is capable of displaying details with an accuracy of 1 km. It can recreate the environmental conditions at a given point in time.

However, to fuel this model, scientists needed information.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much data available to enter into the 1972 mode, let alone any data from the southern hemisphere that the image was focused on.

So the researchers did their best to simulate what they could with the data they had, using the equations already developed and the Levante supercomputer at the German Climate Computing Center.

The result was strikingly similar to the actual image taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts.

So much so that even the team was surprised by the accuracy, given the data limitations built into the algorithm that processed the image.

However, the results of the models are not always graphic, and the team turned to one of the world’s leading graphics companies, NVIDIA, for help.

They used a tool developed by NVIDIA called Omniverse to visualize the output of the model.

Scientists used ray tracing technology to make the image as realistic as possible. Also, the model has another important advantage – it moves.

“Blue Marble” has always been a static image. But the model can be rewound or fast-forward to see how clouds, temperature and atmospheric composition change both before and after the iconic image.

In fact, it’s like watching what the Apollo 17 astronauts would have seen if they had remained still and had a video camera set to constantly monitor their home planet.

While this particular attempt was a way of perpetuating a great picture, it is essentially a test of a fully functional, high-resolution climate model.


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