Through countless movies and TV shows, the idea of endless space has grown to defy imagination. Yet even with our sights firmly set on this unexplored realm, we must make sure to never forget about the place we call home.
As mankind has become further absorbed in the mysteries of space, humanity has slowly grown bored after thousands of years of the same old thing. However, these recent photos from space prove there are still mysteries on our home planet waiting to be solved.
The stars and planets that fill our skies are the subject of constant study and admiration. But with all the limitations of the naked eye, there are still so many mysteries in our solar system that we haven’t solved.
Yet while those extraterrestrial sights are no doubt mystifying, there’s one otherworldly body most of us take for granted: our own planet. Living on Earth has somewhat dulled our appreciation of its place in space, though perhaps a different perspective will change your mind…
From their place aboard the International Space Station, astronauts regularly snap photos of the Earth using high-powered cameras mounted on the station itself. And over the years, these men and women have returned with some pretty incredible images.
In this photo, the distant edge of the Milky Way galaxy serves as the backdrop to our humble home. Just below that, the Sahara Desert tints the Earth’s atmosphere a dusty orange as sunrays glint off millions of square miles of sand.
As the ISS continues on its orbit around the planet, the Moon shows its familiar face. With the space station circling the Earth every 90 minutes, astronauts are greeted by the shimmering white body a total of 16 times a day.
Toward the Earth’s northern and southern poles, the ISS gets a front row seat to one of the planet’s most breathtaking phenomenons: auroras. While viewing these lights from Earth is undoubtedly captivating, the sight of them from space is truly something to behold.
As we move a little closer to Earth, we begin to see how large of an impact we have on our planet. Even from space, our presence is visible in the billions of lights that shine throughout our homes and cities.
From space, we can also see the direct impact humans have on the environment. This massive man-made fish farm along the shore of northern China illustrates just one of the many ways we’ve worked to shape the natural world around us.
Zooming closer, it’s astounding to view some of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders from a different POV. The Himalayas may look like a collection of mountain peaks from the ground, but from above, the rivers and streams cutting through the snow make the range look like a complex series of tree roots.
Similarly, the vast deserts of Iran look more like a Van Gogh painting than a sun-soaked wasteland from up here. Without trees or soil to cover the ground, the multi-colored layers of stone are startlingly clear even from space.
Even the Great Barrier Reef – which is already an impressive sight – takes on an extraordinary new look when viewed from Earth’s orbit. While these images are undeniably beautiful, there have been others taken by the crew that are more unsettling…
From space, the scope of natural disasters becomes much more apparent, and the photos of these phenomena are striking. This image taken in 2003 shows Hurricane Isabel forming over the Atlantic before making its way to the East Coast of the United States.