Epic Earth: ISS astronauts snap serene city views & natural wonders (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Expedition 46/47 has been in outer space since December 2015 and half of the crew are set to return to Earth in June. While the crew have been focusing their efforts on studying the strain of space travel on the human body, they have also taken the time to photograph their god-like perspective of the world.
…and down to the incredibly beautiful blue Mozambique coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. pic.twitter.com/KCjqh5DBRY— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 15, 2016
The ISS is fitted with several high powered HDEV cameras encased in special covering so they are not destroyed by radiation in space.
The cameras are set at different angles, enabling ISS astronauts to photograph various landmarks and natural wonders as they orbit from a height of 400km.
As expected, the results are out of this world, with tranquil images of bustling cities belying their massive populations and majestic views of azure coral reefs.
Potidea Canal. Coastal currents and erosion over 2000 years appear to have displaced the two sides of this isthmus. pic.twitter.com/zx50ZtEO3R— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 13, 2016
Set sail down the Belize coastline, enjoy the coral reefs along the way.https://t.co/RsJjL6KobU— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 7, 2016
Cities from space
In recent days NASA flight commander Timothy Kopra has been training the ISS lenses on some densely inhabited areas, including Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, which has a population of more than 4 million people.
His photos depict many well-known cities lit up at night, alongside a bird's eye view of Manhattan.
One incredible picture by the Texas native also shows how modern day Egypt has grown up around the ancient pyramids.
Meanwhile, his NASA colleague Jeff Williams has appears to have been more interested in natural wonders, like the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean, Iranian salt domes and the red sand dunes of Oman.
The Great Salt Desert in eastern Iran has some incredible looking geologic structures known as salt domes. pic.twitter.com/3juQcOxUGL— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 4, 2016
Williams’ snaps also include the Irrawaddy Delta in southern Burma.
You know what a mouth of a river is, but take a look at the mouths of the Irrawaddy Delta. pic.twitter.com/IhwGquxMu6— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 14, 2016
From the red sand dunes in southern Saudi Arabia and Oman… pic.twitter.com/SyM23xG9j8— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 15, 2016
One particularly striking image is of the patchwork farmland of Europe and shows an array of colourful fields near the city of Szombathely, Hungary.
I have always wondered what crops produce these vivid colors near Szombathely Hungary. pic.twitter.com/grEz3TcC3I— Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) May 10, 2016