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This is the most inspiring International Space Station image I’ve ever seen


European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet captures this incredible view from the International Space Station over the Nile Delta in Egypt in November 2021.

Thomas Bisket

I want to talk about the photo of the International Space Station. I think I saw the most Pictures from the SpaceX Crew-2 flight in November. But I missed one, and Tweet from Nujoud Fahoum Merancy, Head of Exploration Mission Planning at NASA, caught my eye this week.

“I will reflect on the last image of the International Space Station over Egypt’s Nile Delta today,” Merancy wrote, taking it as an invitation to do the same. The image shows the station about 250 miles (400 km) above the delta region where the river reaches the Mediterranean Sea. The Earth below is illuminated by a grid of lights, while the International Space Station glows in the dark.

image comes Courtesy of ESA astronaut Thomas Bisquet, who captured a series of stunning photos of the International Space Station during its flight in November before the Crew Dragon spacecraft returned home.

I’ve seen a much clearer picture of the International Space Station. I have seen brighter ones. But the layers of meaning in this image move me. The station seems to blend into the spectacle of light below and it’s hard to tell where Earth ends and space begins. The International Space Station is framed as if it were embraced by the Nile Delta, everyone who lives there today, and the deep history of the area.

The image is particularly impressive given the limited life of the International Space Station. It’s been in orbit for over 20 years and NASA wants it Continue to operate the plant until 2030. The life of the International Space Station will be a glimpse of the thousands of years of human history represented by the Nile Delta. But the station represents the ambitious expansion of mankind, the pursuit of wonder.

The International Space Station may have been miles from the Nile when Pesquet took the accidental shot, but the image brings together many chapters of human history, from Earth’s fertile fields to hard-to-reach stars.

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