municipality of Dubai is the largest city of the Persian Gulf emirate
of the same name, and has built a global reputation for large-scale
developments and architectural works. Among the most visible of these
developments—particularly from the perspective of astronauts on board
the International Space Station—are three human-made archipelagos. The
two Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali) appear as stylized
palm trees when viewed from above. The World Islands evoke a rough map
of the world from an air- or space-borne perspective. Palm Jumeirah and
the World Islands are highlighted in this astronaut photograph.
Palm Jumeirah (image lower left) was begun in 2001 and required more
than 50 million cubic meters of dredged sand to raise the islands above
the Persian Gulf sea level. Construction of the Palm Jumeirah islands
was completed in 2006; the islands are now being developed for
residential and commercial housing and infrastructure. Creation of the
300 World Islands (image upper right) was begun in 2003 and completed
in 2008, using 320 million cubic meters of sand and 37 million tonnes
of rock for the surrounding 27-kilometer-long protective breakwater.
Little to no infrastructure development of The World is apparent in
this astronaut photograph.
Also visible at the lower edge of the astronaut photograph is
another notable structure—the Burj Khalifa (image lower right and
rotated 90 degrees in inset). Burj Khalifa stands 800 meters (2,600
feet) high, and it is currently the world’s tallest structure. The
astronaut photograph captures enough detail to make out the tapering
outline of the building as well as its dark, needle-like shadow
pointing towards the northeast.
Astronaut photograph ISS022-E-24940
was acquired on c with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera fitted with a 400 mm
lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and
Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The
image was taken by the Expedition 22 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program
supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that
will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make
those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken
by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.