SpaceX Astronaut’s Gorgeous Photos From Space — Aurora, Crops, Wildfires

He was part of SpaceX’s second full crew to the space station — a mission called Crew-2.

His crewmates were NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

The Crew-2 astronauts boarded SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship and undocked from the ISS on November 7.

spaceships docked to the space station above nighttime earth

Russia’s Soyuz spaceship and Nauka laboratory module on the ISS, on September 15, 2021.

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

Pesquet served as ISS commander for the last month of his spaceflight.

The next day, they plummeted to a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

cargo dragon spaceship flying above earth with nosecone open black space in background

A Dragon spaceship carrying cargo approaches the ISS on August 30, 2021.

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

Pesquet was “basically the designated professional photographer of this mission,” SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said on a livestream, as the Crew Dragon backed away from the ISS.

green brown river cutting across green brown hills and crops from space

Pesquet shared the photo above with a caption: “The setting sun gives some beautiful pastel colours to the landscape along the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.”

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

During his time in space, Pesquet took more than 245,000 photos from about 250 miles above the Earth.

thick blue river in desert from space

“Karkheh Dam, Iran. I’m blown away by the swirling blues in these pictures and their contrast with the parched earth,” Thomas Pesquet wrote in a caption for the photo above.

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

“I think there’s too many pictures,” Pesquet said in a NASA Q&A on Monday.

red butterfly-shaped lake in brown mountain landscape seen from space

A salt lake in Iran, photographed from the ISS on August 17, 2021.

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

On one of Pesquet’s last days in space, the ISS flew above a highly active, multicolored aurora borealis, triggered by a huge burst of particles from the sun.

aurora borealis from space green blue ring circling the planet with pink red purple spikes on the horizon

A powerful aurora seen from the space station on November 4, 2021.

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

“We flew right above the center of the ring, rapid waves and pulses all over,” Pesquet wrote when he shared the photo. Some of the aurora’s spikes reach higher than the space station, he added.

“We see the pollution of rivers, atmospheric pollution, things like that,” Pesquet told French President Emmanuel Macron on November 4.

wildfire smoke covers crop rectangles

Wildfire smoke covers crops near California’s Sequoia National Park on August 20, 2021.

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

He spoke with Macron on a video call from the ISS, as world leaders met during the UN climate conference in Scotland. Negotiators’ goal in Scotland should be to speed up humanity’s response to the climate crisis, Macron responded, according to The Associated Press.

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