This is the most inspirational picture of the ISS I've ever seen A luminous view of the space station above the Nile Delta in Egypt brings together threads of human history.

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A dazzling view of the space station over the Nile Delta in Egypt brings together the threads of human history.

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ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet captured this excellent view of the ISS over the Nile Delta in Egypt in November 2021.


I need to talk about a picture of the International Space Station. I thought I’d seen most of these Images from November’s fly-around by SpaceX Crew-2 mission, But I missed one, and one Nujoud Fahoum Merancy’s tweetThe NASA chief of exploration mission planning brought it to my attention this week.

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Merancy wrote, “Going to pay attention to this recent photo of the ISS over the Nile Delta in Egypt today, and I took it as an invitation to do so. The photo shows the station about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the delta region Where the river reaches the Mediterranean Sea, the earth below is lit with a net of light while the ISS is shrouded in darkness.

This photo comes courtesy of European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who captured a series of stunning ISS images during November before the Crew Dragon spacecraft returned home.

I’ve seen sharp pictures of the ISS. I have seen bright But the layers of meaning in this picture shake me. It looks like the station is melting into the lightscape below and it’s hard to tell where Earth ends and space begins. The ISS is designed to be embraced by the Nile Delta, all the people who now live there, and the region’s deep history.

This image is even more poignant, knowing that the lifetime of the ISS is limited. It’s already been in orbit for more than 20 years and NASA wants Continue operation of the station until 2030, The life of the ISS would be a blip compared to the thousands of years of human history represented by the Nile Delta. But the station represents humanity’s ambitious reach, the quest for wonder.

The ISS may be miles away from the Nile when Pesquet took the grim snapshot, but the image ties together several chapters of human history, from Earth’s fertile regions to stars beyond our reach.

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