Earth from Space, the new series from BBC, shows the natural history of our planet from a brand new perspective. After successfully capturing the living world with the aid of cameras on ground as well as in the air, they now turned to space for a new dimension.
“We only have one planet, one home and it feels like we are doing something different to protect it which is great,” says Jo Shinner, executive producer of the series Earth From Space.
To this end, images were sourced from over 20 different satellites operated by national space agencies for the series. “While one can always buy images, for the first time we were commissioning companies to take images,” she says.
Needless to say, the task called for a meticulous coordination. “Once we were following elephants on the ground, with drones in the air and at that precise moment, coordinates were given to the satellites to take a picture from space. As a result, the images zoom in from space all the way through the drone on to the ground, showing things in a completely different way.”
There are four episodes in the season each dealing with a different issue. The first is an overview of the planet as seen from space, the second showcases patterns created by wildlife and the third, encapsulates the extraordinary colours found in nature.
“The fourth episode is on the environment and is quite hard-hitting. It is a sobering watch because it is rather scary as to what we are doing to our planet,” she says.
“We have extraordinary time lapse images where you can see the landscape of our planet, transforming in front of your eyes, with some parts vanishing completely.”
Jo hopes it jolts viewers into taking some kind of action as, “We all have a job to do, a part to play. After all, we only have one planet.”
Everything on our planet is interconnected: from microscopic life forms and the flora and fauna to the weather and currents in water bodies. “We tend to see the planet from our perspective of the little patches of the world we live in. But it’s far more bigger than that and we need to protect it all.”
“One of my favourite sequences in the series is where you can see the amazing patterns created by plankton,” says Jo. They are too tiny to be seen while you are in the sea, but they create the food for the entire population of the water world from tiny fish to whales.
“Looking at them from space, they cover the shorelines in amazing swirling patterns of abstract art. They are beautiful and serve as the lungs of our planet, providing us with a lot of oxygen, but they can only be seen from space. It is a revelation.”
(As part of their Earth from Above anthology, BBC will premiere their new series Earth from Space on Sony BBC Earth at 9pm from October 21-24.)