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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

(NASA Crew Earth Observations)

"We catch a glimpse of a huge swirl of clouds out the window over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or the boot of Italy jutting down into the Mediterranean, or the brilliant blue coral reefs of the Caribbean strutting their beauty before the stars. And...we experienced those uniquely human qualities: awe, curiosity, wonder, joy, amazement." (Russell L. Schweickart, Apollo Astronaut ("The Home Planet")

Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Astronaut Photography - Observing Earth's Systems from Space

by Rebecca Dodge in collaboration with NASA scientists

Urban Areas

Cairo Explosive population growth in the city of Cairo, built on the Nile Delta thousands of years ago, is remaking the Delta inland from the coast as well31. Urban development, shown to the left32, is rapidly overwhelming former agricultural lands. The population of Cairo had grown from less than 6 million in 1965 (top picture) to more than 10 million in 1998 (bottom picture); population in 2004 was approximately 16 million. The loss of agriculturally productive land in conjunction with rapid population growth is a recipe for disaster, should inevitable drought further strain the resources of this fragile desert environment. The Egyptian government is actively seeking to move population center off the Delta, to preserve fertile lands for agriculture33.

Conversion of agricultural and forested land to urban uses is a world-wide phenomenon. Urban areas around the world were early targets of astronaut photography, resulting in a lengthy archive of photographs that serve as baselines for future observations. The world's largest and fastest-growing cities comprise one of the Crew Earth Observations program's focus areas.

31. ( Reaping What We Sow)

32. ( Urban Growth in Cairo

33. ( Toshka Lakes, Southern Egypt)

San Mateo Foreword >>
Introduction >>
Crew Earth Observations >>
          Dynamic Events >>
          Coral Reefs >>
          El Nino >>
          Smog >>
          Volcanic Eruptions >>
          Deltas >>
          Urban Areas >>
          Glaciers >>
References >>