Sway featured story #3—Planet Labs

Last March, we kicked off our Sway featured series, where we showcase remarkable people and inspirational stories in the Sway medium. Our first story featured Nathan Sawaya, world renowned artist, who pushes the bounds of what LEGO blocks can do in his creative masterpieces. Our second Sway told the story of the Greens, a courageous family who used their personal experience with cancer to open up difficult yet much needed conversations around death and loss.

For our third story, we are pleased to feature Planet Labs, a San Francisco–based startup with the mission to send tiny satellites into space to take detailed imagery of earth. Started in a garage and co-founded by a former NASA engineer, the team continually develops groundbreaking technology that allows them to not only take documentation of our planet on a daily basis, but also to make this information instantly accessible to partners.

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Planet Labs’ lineup of satellites that take detailed images of earth.

As one can imagine, Planet Labs’ shots have a wide variety of applications that impact various sectors of society. In 2015, Planet Labs’ imagery were able to identify two towns hit by the Nepal earthquake that wouldn’t have received assistance otherwise. As Matt Ferraro recalls in our Sway, “We helped in a real material way. When I got the news for that, I just cried.” Julie Pecson recounts how their photos enabled the Peruvian government to combat illegal deforestation and gold mining. In our interviews, it’s clear that the team has developed a greater perspective of how the world—and humanity—is interconnected, giving them a deeper appreciation of the wonders of our planet.

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Planet Labs’ satellite images of Istanbul, Northern Cape Province and Bamako.

We hope you enjoy our Sway on Planet Labs, and have as much fun as we did marveling at the story behind their technology and the striking images they’ve shared of our world—captured by satellites orbiting in space.

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