For the Saudi pilot Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, seeing Earth from space was a profound experience. “The first day we all pointed to our own countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth.”
This sentiment has been echoed by the many astronauts who have seen this view, catalogued in Frank White's The Overview Effect. And our fascination with these views continue with regular attempts to glimpse our world from afar, sending Lego space shuttles and Austrian skydivers up as offerings to the edge of space.
All of this rings out loud in Robert Hodgin's pursuit to create an astounding interactive model of our planet. Drawing from NASA's Blue Marble and Visible Earth imagery, he has meticulously coaxed out tiny details that snap the world into focus—clouds casting shadows, small bursts of lightning, the splashes of cities and the glow of the Northern Lights. A modeling process not unlike gardening, this bauble lets us look back at ourselves.