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2018 in review

From military might to nature’s wrath, these are the most memorable satellite photos of 2018

  • The view from above provided by satellite imagery company Digital Globe provided a striking perspective on some of the year’s biggest stories
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 7:59am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 7:59am

From Russian war games to lava flows on Hawaii to raging fires in California, images gathered from high above Earth by satellites in 2018 delivered a unique perspective on humanity, geopolitics, and the forces of nature that have upended lives and landscape.

Here’s a look at eight of the most striking news images captured by satellite imagery company Digital Globe – and photos made by Associated Press photographers who were on the ground:

Back to Da Nang: In a message to China, the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked at Da Nang bay in Vietnam on March 5.

In the first visit to a Vietnamese port by a US Navy aircraft carrier since the Vietnam war, the Vinson and its crew of more than 6,000 sent a signal from the two countries to China, which has stepped up its challenges to US supremacy in the region.

From space, the message was clear in the dozens of fighter jets on deck (see main photo).

March For Our Lives: When survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, called for action, hundreds of thousands marched in cities across America on March 24.

The “March for Our Lives” rallies demonstrated a new level of activism for the majority of Americans who want stricter gun control laws.

The satellites showed the scale of the activism in the biggest of the demonstrations at the nation’s capital.

Lava and ash in Hawaii: The eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii on May 3 wrecked more than 700 homes while captivating the world with its destructive force.

Using infrared technology, a satellite captured the range of heat from a river of lava in vivid colours on May 13.

Kerala under water: Storms in August battered the southern Indian state of Kerala. The flooding killed hundreds and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

A satellite image on August 22 revealed how the landscape had been turned into a temporary lake.

Russian show of might: In September, Russia put on its biggest show of force since the height of the cold war. Russian officials said the military exercises in Siberia and the Far East, involved 300,000 Russian troops, 1,000 aircraft and 36,000 tanks.

But for Western analysts the biggest message was the participation of Chinese troops in joint military exercises. Digital Globe satellites captured some of the drama as parachutes dropped military equipment on September 15.

North Carolina drowning: In mid-September, Hurricane Florence dumped over 30 inches (760mm) of rain in parts of eastern North Carolina.

More than a dozen people were killed in the storm and floods. The view from space reveals the inundation.

A city liquefied: A massive earthquake wiped out whole neighbourhoods of the Indonesian city of Palu on September 28 when 430 hectares (1.7 square miles) of land were liquefied into deadly mudslides, an inundated by a tsunami.

It was clear from above how vast the destruction was and from the ground how complete.

Paradise in flames: The deadliest US wildfire in a century sparked off in Northern California in November killing dozens and causing billions of dollars of damage.

The satellites showed the complete destruction of the town of Paradise, where 27,000 people had lived.