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The Spanish Peaks, on the eastern flank of the Sangre de Cristo range in Colorado, abruptly rise 7,000 feet above the western Great Plains. Settlers, treasure hunters, trappers, gold and silver miners have long sighted on these prominent landmarks along the Taos branch of the Santa Fe trail. Well before the westward migration, the mountains figured in the legends and history of the Ute, Apache, Comanche, and earlier tribes. “Las Cumbres Espa&ntidle;olas” are also mentioned in chronicles of exploration by Spaniards including Ulibarri in 1706 and later by de Anza, who eventually founded San Francisco, California. This exceptional view, captured by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS108, portrays the Spanish Peaks in the context of the southern Rocky Mountains.
Photograph STS-108-720-32 was taken in the December 2001 by the crew of Space Shuttle mission 108 using a Hasselblad camera with 250-mm lens, and is provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.
Published January 20, 2002