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In brief: In addition to NASA celebrating 20 years of continuous human presence onboard the International Space Station (ISS), crew members took thousands of photographs of Earth during 2020. Now, the agency has revealed the best twenty images of our planet as seen from space.
Chosen by the people at the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the images include Cuba and the Bahamas, the fall colors of Ottawa, and moonrise over the southern Atlantic Ocean. You can see more photos taken from the ISS here.
NASA has released a series of statistics about the ISS to celebrate its twenty years of constant habitation. Located about 260 miles above Earth, 240 individuals from 19 countries have visited the International Space Station, where an international crew of six live and work.
The station travels at a speed of five miles per second, orbiting Earth approximately every 90 minutes . That works out at 16 orbits of the Earth every 24 hours.
The ISS itself measures 357 feet end-to-end, one yard shorter than a football field, including the end zones. Its power comes from four pairs of solar arrays that provide 75 to 90 kilowatts, and it weighs 925,335 pounds with a habitable volume of 13,696 Cubic Feet.
Something not mentioned by NASA is that the ashes of James ‘Scotty’ Doohan have been traveling on the ISS for the last 12 years. Game developer Richard Garriott, the man behind the Ultima series, smuggled them onboard inside a laminated photo of the actor when he became one of the first space tourists to visit the station in 2008.