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 Danang
In this Monday, March 5, 2018 file photo, people stand on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier as it docks in Danang bay, Vietnam.
In a message to China, the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked at Danang bay in Vietnam on March 5. In the first visit to a Vietnamese port by a U.S. 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 U.S. supremacy in the region. From space, the message was clear in the dozens of fighter jets on deck.
This March 6, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows The USS Carl Vinson off the coast of Danang, Vietnam.
March for Our Lives
In this Saturday, March 24, 2018 file photo, members of the audience react as Edna Chavez of Manual Arts High, south of downtown Los Angeles, speaks during the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, in support of gun control.
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.
This March 24, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows crowds at the “March for Our Lives” demonstration in Washington.
Lava and ash
In this Monday, May 21, 2018 file photo,m Doug Ralston plays golf in Volcano, Hawaii, as a huge ash plume rises from the summit of Kiluaea volcano.
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 colors on May 13. At a safe distance from the eruption, life — even golf — went on in Hawaii.
This June 26, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows lava flows from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii
Kerala, India under water
In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2018 file photo, a bicycle is hung from a tree branch to avoid being washed away in flood waters as a man rows past with his dog in a boat at Kuttanad in Alappuzha in the southern state of Kerala, India.
Storms in August battered the southern Indian state of Kerala. The flooding killed hundreds and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
A satellite image on Aug. 22 revealed how the landscape had been turned into a temporary lake, while AP journalists on the ground captured the human toll, including a man in a canoe with his dog and rowing past a tree from which a bicycle hung above the flood waters.
This Aug. 22, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows flooded fields and villages in Kerala, India.
Russia shows its might
In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 file photo, military helicopters fire weapons about 250 kilometres north of the city of Chita during the Vostok military exercises in Eastern Siberia, Russia.
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 Sept. 15.
This Sept. 13, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows an airborne paradrop during the Vostok military exercises in the Eastern Siberia area of Russia.
North Carolina drowns under Hurricane Florence
In this Sept. 17, 2018 file photo, Bob Richling carries Iris Darden, 84, out of her flooded home as her daughter-in-law, Pam Darden, gathers her belongings in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Spring Lake, N.C.
In mid-September, Hurricane Florence dumped over 0.76 metres 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.
This Sept 20, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows roads, farms and homes flooded from Hurricane Florence, northeast of Wallace, N.C.
A city swath, liquefied
In this Oct. 6, 2018 file photo, a soldier stands near a toppled mosque as recovery efforts continue at the earthquake-hit Balaroa neighborhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
A massive earthquake wiped out whole neighbourhoods of the Indonesian city of Palau on Sept. 28 when 4.3 square kilometres of land were liquefied into deadly mudslides.
It was clear from above how vast the destruction was and from the ground how complete.
This Oct. 1, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia after tsunami struck the area.
Paradise in flames
In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 file photo, a firefighter searches for human remains in a trailer park destroyed in the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. This town of 27,000 was destroyed in the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history.
The deadliest U.S. 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, CA, where 27,000 people had lived. An AP photo at ground-level showed the toll of the destruction.
This Nov. 9, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows fires consuming Paradise, Calif.
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