Breathtaking: Astronaut captures huge sand storm over Bahrain from ISS; salutes nature's forces
It is a completely different experience to be able to view the Earth from the International Space Station. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet - on a second trip to ISS - tweeted breathtakingly beautiful pictures of Mother Earth. These pictures (also shared on his Flickr feed) are a bird's eye view of a mammoth sand storm that swept across parts of Middle East Asia.
Check the Flickr feed and tweet handle of French astronaut Thomas Gautier Pesquet - a French aerospace engineer, pilot, and European Space Agency astronaut - currently stationed at the International Space Station (ISS).
"A sandstorm! I had never seen one from space, this one looked massive… I wonder how many tonnes of sand just flew over dozens or hundreds of kilometres. Mother nature has some strength. #MissionAlpha https://flic.kr/p/2m8cWX4," Pesquet writes on his Twitter post.
He elaborates a bit on his Flicker post, though. "A sandstorm! I have seen a few times sand deposited on cars in the streets of metropolitan France, the result of such a weather event, and I knew as a pilot flying to Africa that it could be bad sometimes, but I had never seen one from space! This one looked massive… I wonder how many tons of sand just flew over dozens or hundreds of kilometres. Mother nature has some strength."
Pesquet was part of Expedition 50 and Expedition 51 as a flight engineer on board the ISS earlier, from November 2016 to June 2017. Thomas Pesquet returned to space in April 2021 onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon for a second six-month stay on the ISS.
He travelled as part of the SpaceX Crew Dragon crew, along with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, who is commanding the Crew Dragon, Megan McArthur, as the pilot, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. Pesquet is the first European astronaut to launch onboard an American Commercial Crew Vehicle.
The photographs he has shared also include the space walks that the astronauts onboard the ISS have undertaken. Another one shows his fellow astronaut Akihito checking life-saving equipment. "Aki checking emergency equipment: I know them well, because they are the same masks for the pilots in commercial airplanes. Happy to say thought that I have never used them except for this kind of equipment checking! In space and in all extreme situations we check life-saving equipment regularly, but hope never to use them!," posts Pesquet on Flickr.
He also posts commemorative pics for World Music Day and of their dance on board the ISS to "shed" some Nitrogen.
According to Space.com, the space station flies at an average altitude of 248 miles (400 kilometres) above Earth. It circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h). In one day, the station travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back.