Maseru is the capital city of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and is located
along the northwestern border of the country with the Republic of South
Africa. The footprint of the urban area, recognizable by street grids
and distinctive blue-roofed industrial buildings at image center, is
only just visible against the surrounding landscape. The city has
expanded eightfold (population 230,000 today) since independence from
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1966, and is
now home to one in five citizens of the country.
The Caledon (or Mohokare) River flows adjacent to Maseru and forms a
part of the border between Lesotho and South Africa. Locally, the border
extends from approximately image top center left to image bottom center
right, with the cities of Ladybrand and Manyatseng located in South
Africa. Moshoeshoe International Airport (left) provides access to the
capital. Major industries in the city include flour mills and footwear
and textile companies. Tourism is also a growing part of the local
The Kingdom of Lesotho is completely landlocked by the surrounding
Republic of South Africa. Major landforms visible in the image include
the Qeme and Berea Plateaus, erosional remnants of horizontally layered
sedimentary rocks that formed in the Karoo Basin approximately 200 – 229
million years ago during the Upper Triassic Period.
Astronaut photograph ISS024-E-12749
was acquired on August 28, 2010, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera using
a 180 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations
experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson
Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 24 crew.
The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens
artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program
supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab
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.