What did the astronauts on the International Space Station see when they looked upon the Earth from orbit in 2017? See some of the top Earth observations from the year and download these pics, as chosen by our Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 55 years. Beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s, astronauts have taken more than 1.5 million photographs of the Earth. Today, the International Space Station continues this tradition of Earth observation from human-tended spacecraft. Operational since November 2000, the space station is well suited for documenting Earth features. The orbiting laboratory maintains an altitude of about 250 miles above the Earth, providing an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world.
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