The European Space Agency (ESA) is best known as an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, with 20 member states. First established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, the organization staffs more than 2,000. Here are some mind-blowing satellite images of Earth captured by the agency. Continue reading to see them all.

Cartographers and mapping experts may instantly be able to identify streets, buildings, and land formations, but to the rest of us, the images resemble well-composed paintings filled with rich, vibrant colors.

City grids are transformed into geometric patterns, magnificent mountains and valleys materialize as tangible textures, and swirling blue seas become abstract painterly strokes along a canvas.

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