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Holiday calendar: The Island of Love needs healing


Two bulldozed scars have been made on Galesnjak, Croatia's heart-shaped "Island of Love," as seen in this Geoeye 1 satellite photo taken on Feb. 16. The island's owner promises that Galesnjak will be "more beautiful than it was" when olive trees grow up on those strips of ground.

Croatia's heart-shaped "Island of Love," known as Galesnjak, looks as if it has two giant bandages pasted over it in a picture that was taken by DigitalGlobe's GeoEye 1 satellite right around Valentine's Day.

The Band-Aid strips are actually bulldozed strips of land that are destined to become groves of olive trees. One of the island's owners, Tonci Juresco, told the Croatian daily Jutarnji List this month that Galesnjak is being remodeled to accommodate wedding parties. "The island will be more beautiful than it was," he promised.

Even in its scarred condition, the Island of Love pulls at the heartstrings: It's currently the second most popular image in DigitalGlobe's top-20 satellite image contest. Facebook users can "like" their favorite pictures, and the five most liked selections will go on to a final round of voting next week.

We featured the front-running image, showing Mount Vesuvius from above, as the holiday goodie for Day 7 of our Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar. Every day through Dec. 25, we'll be bringing you a tasty picture showing Earth from space. The tradition is modeled on the classic Advent calendar, which lets kids pluck out hidden treats from a 25-day array leading up to Christmas.

Hungry for more? Check out The Atlantic's Hubble Advent CalendarZooniverse's Advent calendar and the Galileo's Pendulum Science Advent Calendar.

Previously on the Space Advent Calendar:

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the NBC News Science Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.