A few photos taken by the International Space Station (ISS) over the weekend will likely remind you more of Mars than Earth.
The gorgeous images (below) shared by NASA astronaut and current ISS crew member Shane Kimbrough actually show sand dunes in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Yemen.
“I thought we might be on another planet with this photo, but it turns out these dunes are in Saudi Arabia,” wrote Kimbrough, who is currently on his third voyage into space, in a tweet.
I thought we might be on another planet with this photo, but it turns out these dunes are in Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/h8rfZod31A
– Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) May 30, 2021
The American astronaut said of the second photo: “Striking colors and formations of these sand dunes in Yemen near the southern border with Saudi Arabia.”
Striking colors and formations of these sand dunes in Yemen near the southern border with Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/vREORvdpv7
– Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) May 29, 2021
And yes, Mars has sand dunes – you can see some of them in the following images, captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Kimbrough, like fellow crew member Thomas Pesquet, is an avid photographer, with both astronauts clearly enjoying the enviable vantage point the ISS offers about 400 miles above the surface of the earth (check out the breathtaking images of Pesquet here).
Most of the photos taken aboard the space station were taken from the Cupola, a seven-window module that offers panoramic views of Earth and space, although astronauts have recently been dropped from docked Crew Dragon spaceships, whose decently sized windows are also great with potential for avid astronaut photographers.
ISS crew members can choose from an extensive range of professional grade cameras and lenses, most of which are supplied by Nikon. Newer Sony devices are also part of the collection.
Below are some more pictures recently taken by Kimbrough. This shows Bahrain and Qatar along with part of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft that arrived on its last trip to the space station in February.
Qatar and Bahrain look great behind the solar panel on the Cygnus cargo vehicle. Cygnus will be with us for about a month and leave with a lot of rubbish. pic.twitter.com/FeYoh7Tyi5
– Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) May 28, 2021
In the photo below we can see a striking rock formation near the Bighorn River in Wyoming.
I recently took a picture of this beautiful rock formation in northeast Wyoming near the Bighorn River, which is a tributary of the Yellowstone River and is approximately 461 miles long. pic.twitter.com/K32NSLEjLK
– Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) May 18, 2021
For these four images, Kimbrough angled his lens slightly away from the earth to capture a beautiful five-second orbital sunrise.
Course of an orbital sunrise in about 5 seconds. Good morning from @Space_Station! pic.twitter.com/tzHdHMDe1e
– Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) May 7, 2021
Both Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will remain on board the space station until October 2021, so we can expect a steady stream of amazing images over the coming months.