Check out this astronaut's-eye view of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is still spectacular when seen from the International Space Station.

Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon photographed from the ISS. NASA

Just because astronauts are busy working on the International Space Station doesn't mean they're immune from wanting to engage in a few typical tourist activities. Like snapping breathtaking photos of Earth landmarks.

The Expedition 39 crew aboard the ISS took a photo of the Grand Canyon in late March using a Nikon D3S digital camera with a 180mm lens. The darker areas to the top and bottom of the canyon are forested plateaus. The image was doctored up just a little to improve the contrast and remove lens artifacts.

It's quite a top-down look at the Grand Canyon, carved out by the Colorado River, and its side canyons, a viewpoint that's hard to fathom when you're on the ground looking at the beast in person.

There are at least a couple of ways to think about this image. You might pondre how taking the photo from so far above the Earth reduces the Grand Canyon to a rivulet in the dirt, reminding us how small our little place in the universe is. On the other hand, it's such a massive natural wonder that it can be seen from space and photographed so clearly in all its glory. Perhaps the image encompasses a bit of both perspectives.

For a closer-in look at the Grand Canyon, check out the Google Street View vantage that lets you ride down the Colorado River. Put the two together and you get a pretty complete picture of the Grand Canyon without ever having to get up out of your chair.

 

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