[Skip to content]
Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
4928 x 3280 pixels 640 x 426 pixels

latitude/longitude of image
Spacecraft nadir point: 8.5° S, 45.6° W

Photo center point: 8.5° S, 46.1° W

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 221 nautical miles (409km)
Click for Google map
features and other details
information about camera used
additional formats
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Download Image 
4928 pixels 3280 pixels No No Download
640 pixels 426 pixels No No Download
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Image Caption: Agricultural Fields and Flat Lands, Brazil

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station focused a camera on the geometric patterns of farms on some plateaus in northeast Brazil. Here the fields, mainly soybeans and maize, have been planted right up to the edges of the small plateaus. The edges are ragged lines marked by cliffs.

The many flat plateau surfaces of southern Maranhão State are ideal for the wheeled machinery of mechanized agriculture. In fact, the capital city of the region, Balsas, is known as the “capital of mechanized agriculture.”

The steep-sided river valleys—such as that of the Balsas River—lie fully 200 meters (600 feet) below the plateaus. Numerous finger-like tributaries are eroding and creating smaller valleys, which are poor landscapes for mechanized farming. One result is that the forests around the valleys remain in their pristine form, even though southern Maranhão is part of Brazil’s long “arc of deforestation” on the southern margin of a dense forest zone.