This is the most inspiring image of the International Space Station I have ever seen

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet captured this remarkable view from the International Space Station above Egypt’s Nile Delta in November 2021.

Thomas Bisket

I mean a photo from the International Space Station. I thought I had seen the most Photos from a SpaceX Crew-2 flight in November. But I missed one, and

, chief of exploration mission planning at NASA, caught my eye this week.

“I will be gazing at this last image of the International Space Station over Egypt’s Nile Delta today,” Merancy wrote, taking it as an invitation to do the same. The image shows the station about 250 miles (400 km) above the delta region where the river reaches the Mediterranean Sea. The Earth below is illuminated by a grid of lights, while the International Space Station is illuminated in darkness.

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image courtesy of ESA astronaut Thomas Bisquet, who captured a series of stunning photos of the International Space Station during a flight in November before the Crew Dragon spacecraft returned home him.

I have seen much clearer images from the International Space Station. I’ve seen brighter ones. But the layers of meaning in this image move me. The station seems to blend into the light show below and it’s hard to tell where Earth ends and space begins. The International Space Station is framed as if embraced by the Nile Delta, all the people who live there now, and the region’s deep history.

The International Space Station shines in enchanting SpaceX Crew Dragon shots

View all photos

The image is very impressive considering that the life of the International Space Station is limited. It’s already been in orbit for over 20 years and NASA wants it Continue to operate the plant until 2030. The life of the International Space Station will be a fleeting image of the thousands of years of human history represented by the Nile Delta. But the station represents the ambitious extension of humanity, the pursuit of wonder.

The International Space Station may have been miles from the Nile when Pesquet accidentally snapped the photo, but the image brings together many chapters of human history, from Earth’s fertile fields to hard-to-reach stars.

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