In a ceremony earlier this week at NASA's Goddard Space Center, the United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled a new series of stamps that show off the incredible beauty of the Earth when viewed from above.
Both natural phenomenon and man-made landmarks are included, displaying a range of unique, bright colors and geometric shapes. The stamps are part of the USPS's Forever series, called "Earthscapes." All the images are taken from high altitude — either via aircraft or satellites such as NASA's Landsat 7 and the the U.S. Geological Survey's GeoEye IKONOS. The subject matter covers agricultural, natural and urban settings.
Not surprisingly, some of the most dramatic and random views come from nature — the much-studied Mount St. Helen's crater, glacier breaking off into a lake and sinuous shapes of an inland marsh, for example. The agricultural settings show off fascinating geometric shapes from irrigation, such as the surprisingly colorful views of a cranberry harvest. The urban images are a mix of unique views of suburban sprawl and humanity's handiwork.
In a statement, USPS chief financial officer and executive vice president Joseph Corbett summed it up perfectly: "Once you've seen the world from above, you never look at it quite the same way again."
Whether you are a serious stamp collector or just want some beautiful stamps to put on wedding invitations and the like, you can find the stamps at the USPS online store and enjoy a preview of the 15 stamp collection below.