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Astronaut captures stunning images of a snowy Grand Canyon

A snow-covered Grand Canyon seen from space.
Andreas Mogensen/ESA/NASA

In the final days of his six-month stint aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen took some time out of his science work to snap some striking photos of a snow-covered Grand Canyon.

The images were captured from the station in recent days as it orbited Earth at an altitude of around 250 miles.

In a message accompanying the photos that was shared on social media, Mogensen drew attention to the speed at which the space station orbits Earth — about 17,000 mph — noting that 30 seconds before he took the Grand Canyon shots, he was peering down at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in the Mojave Desert about 185 miles away. “Blink and you will have missed your target,” Mogensen said.

If you want to get an idea of how fast we are flying over the Earth, and how quick you have to be to get the photos you want, take a look at these photos of a snow-covered Grand Canyon. I took these photos 30 seconds after I took the photo of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating…

— Andreas Mogensen (@Astro_Andreas) February 24, 2024

In another message posted earlier this month, Mogensen reflected on his six months in orbit.

“It has been a fantastic mission, where I became the commander of the crew on Expedition 70, a fantastic international crew where we have explored new science and worked together to make it a great expedition,” the astronaut wrote, adding that his time in orbit had been “a dream come true, where I got to live and work on [the] International Space Station once more,” following his first mission in 2015 when he became the first Dane in space.

His only disappointment was missing the chance to go on his first spacewalk. It had been scheduled for mid-October, but NASA called it off while engineers investigated a coolant leak that impacted a Russian module at the ISS.

“Unfortunately, the spacewalk I was planned to go out on will not be performed this time, but maybe in the future by another crew,” Mogensen said.

NASA and SpaceX are now making final preparations for the launch of Crew-8 on March 1. Mogensen and his three fellow crewmembers will return to Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule no earlier than March 8.

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