Ever wonder what the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are up to? Well, they're up to, literally, a lot of things, but enjoying the amazing views that their current position in space offers is one of them. From this shot, they view what Mt. Etna, an active volcano on the East coast of Italy looks like from their stellar viewpoint.
To put things in perspective, this picture depicts the size of the huge Space Station, courtesy of NASA's website, they depict the size of the huge Space Station. It's about 109 meters long, and the largest manned object ever put into space. The Station first launched in November 1998.
In the video, Space Station crew members Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins comment on the various glimpses of the cities that they can see from their position in space. In the video, their voices are not differentiated from one another. They say that "easily recognizable boot of Italy" looks "quite a bit different than it does on maps."
After they pan over Italy, they travel over to Greece. "I had a good friend from Greece growing up," one of them mentions in the video. "Excellent food. In most of Europe, there's excellent food." Astronauts are known for their smarts, after all.
They then take a visit over to the Bay Area, with views overlooking San Francisco. The location of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible "left of trajectory." They also spot San Jose from their vantage point of the coast.
"So interesting enough right there is Edwards Air Force Base, that's another place where I lived. It has big dry lake beds. It's also where Palmdale and Lancaster are, where the space shuttle was built," they say in the video. All of the space shuttles today are in retirement.
"It looks like a beautiful day. I just talked to my wife at home fifteen minutes ago, and she said the weather is beautiful down there. There it is - Houston, Texas." Looking down on your hometown from such an incredibly different vantage point undoubtedly brings a whole new perspective to light.
The astronauts then look at Chicago, and the bottom of Lake Michigan, which appears covered in clouds. "Here's Chicago, kind of swinging off to our left." At $120 billion dollars, the ISS is one of the most expensive objects ever built.
"There's Long Island and there's New York City," they say when it comes into view. "Looks a little snowy down there. Probably very cold." The ISS is the third brightest object in the sky. It's only second to the moon, and to Venus. NASA has a system you can sign up for that will text you when the Station is passing over your location.
One of the astronauts aboard the station waves hello to his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. "That little dot?" he says when he sees it. The station travels at five miles per second, which is definitely fast enough to earn you a bit of a speeding ticket back on Earth. That means the astronaut circles the Earth one time every ninety minutes, meaning he passes by Waterbury sixteen times a day.
"Let's get one more close up of New York City. New York are you ready for your close up from the International Space Station?" The other astronaut says that New York is looking good, and that New York should enjoy its Friday night.
That's it for the video, but the incredible views from the Space Station never end. NASA shared this picture in 2016 of the stargazing potential from the Station. It's the viewpoint they have looking over the Pacific Ocean: a straight view into the Milky Way Galaxy.
Los Angeles at night is definitely a popular location for people from all around the world. From outside the world, too, you can tell that it's a thriving city. It's a hotspot even when you're not on this planet.
The ISS captured London, the beautiful city lit up at night. The Thames can clearly be seen cutting through the picture. It was one of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's photographs, and he called it a "Space-a-gram," not an Instagram.
The inside of the Space Station is quite a stark contrast from the breathtaking views that can be seen outside out it. The United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom were all involved in the construction of the Station. And now we can all benefit from the research and the photos that we see.