26/01/2012 03:22 GMT | Updated 26/03/2012 06:12 BST

The Blue Marble: New Photo Of Earth

It's a familiar image, our blue planet suspended in the dark expanse of space.

But now the famous 'Blue Marble' photograph, originally taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, on 7 December 1972, has been updated.

This striking image of the Earth was taken on 4 January 2012 from Suomi NPP, NASA's most recently launched Earth-observing satellite.

This composite image was shot by the VIIRS instrument onboard the satellite, which is named in honour of the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin. The scientist is considered the father of modern satellite meteorology, according to Wikipedia.

Suomi NPP is the first of a new generation of satellites, according to Nasa.

It sits 824 kilometers above Earth, and uses the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite gets a complete view of our planet every day.

The sweeps, or swathes, that it gathers can be seen in this image. Swathes like these were used to compile the new Blue Marble image.

The original shot reaches from the Mediterranean Sea to Antarctica showing the entire coastline of Africa with Asia in the top right of the shot.

Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring