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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
(NASA Crew Earth Observations)
Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS022 Roll: E Frame: 8282 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS022
Country or Geographic Name: CHILE
Features: EVAPORATION POND WEST OF SALAR DE PUNTA NEGRA
Center Point Latitude: -24.4 Center Point Longitude: -69.1 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
ONC Map ID: JNC Map ID:
CameraCamera Tilt: 21
Camera Focal Length: 800mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
NadirGMT Date: 20091209 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 205650 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -24.6, Longitude: -67.9 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 256 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 188 nautical miles (348 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 28 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 3363
CaptionsEscondida Copper Mine, Atacama Desert, Chile
The Escondida copper-gold-silver mine produces more copper than any other mine in the world (1.483 million tons in 2007), amounting to 9.5% of world output and making it a major part of the Chilean economy. The mine is located 170 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of Chile’s port city of Antofagasta, in the hyper-arid northern Atacama Desert at an elevation of 3,050 meter (10,010 feet) above sea level.
This astronaut photograph features a large impoundment area (image center) containing light tan and gray waste materials (“spoil”) from of the Escondida mine complex. The copper-bearing waste, which is a large proportion of the material excavated from open pit excavations to the north (not shown), is poured into the impoundment area as a liquid (green region at image center), and dries to the lighter-toned spoil seen in the image. The spoil is held behind a retaining dam, just more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) long, visible as a straight line at image lower left.
Escondida means “hidden” in Spanish, and it refers to the fact that the copper ore body was buried beneath hundreds of meters of barren rock, and the surface geology gave no signs of its presence. Instead it had to be located by a laborious drilling program following a geologic trend—an imaginary line hundreds of kilometers long established by other known copper finds—with which Escondida lined up.
Escondida produces mainly copper concentrates. Assisted by gravity, the concentrates are piped as slurry down to the smaller port of Coloso just south of Antofagasta, where they are dewatered for shipping. The mine began operating in 1990.
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