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STS033-73-97
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Spacecraft nadir point: 24.7° S, 128.1° E

Photo center point: 22.5° S, 128.5° E

Nadir to Photo Center: North

Spacecraft Altitude: 251 nautical miles (465km)
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Image Caption: STS033-073-097 Lake Mackay, Western Australia, Australia November 1989
Lake Mackay is one of hundreds of dry lakebeds scattered throughout Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The photograph documents the appearance of the dry parts of Western Australia's Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert, and Tanami Desert. Lake Mackay measures approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) east-west and north-south. The darker areas of the lakebed are indicative of some form of desert vegetation or algae, some moisture within the soils of the dry lake, and the lowest elevations where pooling of water occurs. In this arid environment, salts and other minerals are carried to the surface through capillary action caused by evaporation, thereby producing the white reflective surface. Visible are various brown hills scattered across the eastern half of the lake and east-west-oriented sand ridges south of the lake.