Image Caption: Manzanillo, Mexico

An astronaut took this photograph of Mexico's busiest port - Manzanillo - from the International Space Station. The port handles cargo for Mexico City, which is 600 kilometers (400 miles) to the east. With a population of 185,000 people, the city spreads along a complex coastline. Numerous tourist hotels situated along a curved sand spit dot the seafront and the main beach.

The harbor zone near the city center is protected by sea walls, and the larger harbor zone is protected by another sand spit. This is the main commercial harbor, and it also hosts ships from Mexico's naval fleet. An artificial channel gives sea access, and the bay's shoreline is heavily engineered for port functions.

A power station occupies one end of one of the sand spits. A railroad causeway has been built over the water of Laguna Cuyutlan around the inner shorelines of the lake to supply the power station with fuel. A detailed version of the image shows two lines of power transmission pylons that angle from the power station inland across the lake.

This image was taken looking near the Sun's reflection point, or "glint point," so it reveals several ocean features. Broad curves show ocean swells moving onshore. The bright filaments may be surfactants from biogenic oils, and perhaps also from bilge pumping from the numerous oil tankers that use the port. Ships often anchor in the bay near the harbor, waiting to discharge or take on cargo.


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This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
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