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What do oceanographers and astronauts have in common? Observations of the complex interactions between different Earth systems, for one. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station routinely observe and photograph the Earth’s surface to visualize the complicated interfaces between the atmosphere, the ocean, the land, and life on the surface. Oceanographers are also interdisciplinary students of the Earth; their interests include geology, chemistry, hydrology, and biology. Currently, a team of scientists is cruising the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico and is preparing for submersible dives on the East Pacific Rise, part of the world’s mid-ocean ridge system.
Astronaut photograph ISS006-E-51456 was acquired in early 2003 with a Nikon 1 digital camera, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory 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.
Published January 23, 2007