For 40 years, Landsat earth observation satellites have been chilling up above the planet, capturing images of the surface for scientific purposes. But it happens that many of these photos look like incredible paintings. The Earth basically has the same attitude towards abstract art as most museum-goers: “I could totally do that.”

This month NASA and the U.S. Geological Service ran a contest to find out which people thought made the best “Earth as Art.” Here are a few of our favorites, plus the ones NASA and USGS picked as the winners:

Fjords in northwestern Iceland:

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Antarctic glaciers like spilled, textured paint:

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The Richat Structure, in Mauritania, is an eroded volcanic dome but looks like an alien landing site:


Rocky Mountain trench:


The yellow in this photo, the fourth place winner, is sand:

The Mississippi River swirls, in third place:


The Yukon Delta, in second place, looks like it could be a tissue sample seen under a microscope:

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This one won because it looks like Van Gogh and we are all cheesy: