An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph showing the radiating street patterns of Tunisia’s second largest city, Sfax (population about 330,000). The radial pattern focuses on the ancient walled city—the “medina” with its small blocks, narrow streets, and even a slight color difference of the rooftops.
Sfax is a major port and home to Tunisia’s largest fishing fleet; for scale, the fishing port is 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) long. Across the bottom of the full scene, the river bed of the ephemeral Oued el Agareb stretches to the sea.
For the astronauts, the most recognizable features of Sfax from space are the brilliantly colored salt ponds south of the old city and the new circular earth works of the Taparura redevelopment project just to the north. Taparura draws its name from the ancient town on which Sfax now stands. Engineers and developers have reclaimed many hectares of land along 5 kilometers (3 miles) of shoreline, reengineering a polluted and marshy area alongside the city’s railroad tracks.
Astronaut photograph ISS044-E-1998 was acquired on June 19, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 44 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and 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 M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, Jacobs Contract at NASA-JSC.
- ISS - Digital Camera