Atlantis’ Last Voyage Marks End of an Era -But Not the End of Human Space Exploration


Nasa astronaut Dr Michael Barratt, describes how he and his fellow astronauts felt about the view from the station's recently installed cupola, the solar system's highest crow's nest:

"If we could share only one experience from the station with everyone on Earth, it would be to spend an orbit in the cupola watching the 90-minute spectacle of the Earth going by. With the 'cathedral dome' layout of the windows, you take in the whole experience; the surface features, the horizon with the fragile appearance of the atmosphere, and the striking picture of the Earth as a planet hanging in the blackness of space.

"During the shadow pass, all this transforms into city lights and lightning, a still perceptible atmospheric band often tinted green, and stars like you have never seen them.  And the sun rising and setting is spectacular as well; just be ready to take this in quickly."

Image Top of Page: Shuttle astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looks down from the cupola of the ISS – 'the solar system's highest crow's nest'. Credit: Nasa

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