Last week, astronaut Drew Feustel (@Astro_Feustel) shared this amazing image of the Great Lakes region of North America from his vantage point of the International Space Station (@iss). He said that this photo contains all of “the places I called home for the first 32 years of my life. Many of my family and friends are in this photo, somewhere.” The space station offers a unique vantage for observing the Earth’s ecosystems with hands-on and automated equipment. These options enable astronauts to observe and explain what they witness in real time. Station crews can observe and collect camera images of events as they unfold and may also provide input to ground personnel programming the station’s automated Earth-sensing systems. This flexibility is an advantage over sensors on unmanned spacecraft, especially when unexpected natural events, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, occur.
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