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NASA Satellite Image of the Black Hills from Space


NASA is good for all kinds of things. Researching the origins of the universe, for example, or promoting international cooperation. And sure, those things are great and noble and all, but when it comes down to the cool factor, it's NASA's photos that take the cake.

The NASA Image of the Day site is fairly popular at my office, and my coworkers with a nerdy streak aren't above using the occasional image for their computer desktop. The Mars rovers have made pretty regular appearances, in fact.

I've seen some pretty stellar pictures of Earth lately, so I thought I'd root around and see if there were some nice satellite images of the Black Hills. The Booster Bunch didn't disappoint. I found a really nice and detailed image, above. (Click here if you want to download the full image from NASA.)It was taken as part of a study on drought. You can see Belle Fourche Reservoir at the top of the picture, Keyhole Reservoir (in Wyoming) on the left side and Rapid City sprawling out from the edge of the hills on the right. I think the division between the Black Hills proper and the Bear Lodge Mountains, the part of the Black Hills that spills into Wyoming on the northwest side, is pretty striking.

So's the difference between the green hills and the brown plains. Anyone who's driven to the Black Hills in the summer can attest to the sudden change from brown, dried out grasslands to emerald ponderosa forests. The distinct change in landscape led some early travelers to describe the Black Hills as "an island in a sea of prairie," and it's easy to see why when you look at a photo like this.

About the Author

Dustin is a fifth-generation South Dakotan, grew up exploring the forested gulches of the Black Hills. While studying at Oxford University, Dustin discovered the amazing combination of student discounts and the European rail system, and set off to see the continent. Eleven countries, five trains, a Greek fishing boat and several pubs later, Dustin realized a deep affinity for travel. Although he’s journeyed across three continents since then, the Black Hills remain one of his favorite places to explore. Now a member of the Western Writers of America, Dustin has penned several travel guides on the Black Hills, Badlands, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming for publishers including Fodor’s and Globe Pequot.

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