NASA astronaut spends the day taking pictures of Earth and asks people all over the world to do the same

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik has spent the day photographing Earth from the International Space Station (ISS), while inviting people all over Earth to do the same from wherever they are.

With help from fellow astronaut Joe Acaba, Bresnik has been taking photos from the ISS’ 360-degree Earth-facing cupola window. At approximately 13.30 GMT, Bresnik began his challenge looking at Europe, and concluded it by taking pictures of North America, at around 15.00 GMT.

“You can’t look at the Earth and not be changed,” Bresnik said. “You realise every experience you’ve ever had and every person you’ve ever known is down on that little blue marble.”

Images courtesy of NASA

Bresnik’s photographing of Earth began with a sweep from the United Kingdom across central Europe to Oman, followed by a pass near the Maldives. Bresnik then took in the sunset west of Australia and sunrise over the south Pacific Ocean before it concluding with a pass over North America from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Montreal, Canada.

The astronaut took on the challenge as part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, which is an initiative that aims to encourage students and teachers to get more involved with the so-called STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

With this in mind, Bresnik asked educators, students and the general public to post pictures to social media of their surroundings from their unique vantage point using the hashtag #1World1Orbit.

On Friday, it was reported that Bresnik and Acaba had to cut short a spacewalk after a tether used as a ‘lifeline’ was found to be frayed and a backup ‘jetpack’ began malfunctioning.

The spacewalk was needed to replace a blurry camera outside the ISS. However, five hours into the spacewalk, Mission Control saw that the right handle on Acaba’s emergency jetpack was popped open and ordered him back inside.

Human habitat located on the Moon that will shield us from its extreme elements

Researchers have discovered a potential habitat on the Moon, which may protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface.

No one has ever been on the Moon for longer than three days, largely because space suits alone can’t shield astronauts from its elements: extreme temperature variation, radiation, and meteorite impacts. Unlike Earth, the Moon also has no atmosphere or magnetic field to protects its inhabitants.

However, in a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers have claimed that the safest place for astronauts to seek shelter is inside an intact lava tube.

“It’s important to know where and how big lunar lava tubes are if we’re ever going to construct a lunar base,” said Junichi Haruyama, a senior researcher at JAXA, Japan’s space agency.

Image courtesy of Purdue University/David Blair. Featured image courtesy of NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Lava tubes are naturally occurring channels formed when a lava flow develops a hard crust, which thickens and forms a roof above the still-flowing lava stream. Once the lava stops flowing, the tunnel sometimes drains, forming a hollow void.

The Lava tubes located by Purdue University researchers are said to be spacious enough to house one of the United States’ largest cities, and while their existence – and in particular their entrance near the Marius Hills Skylight – was previously known, their size was previously an unknown quantity.

“They knew about the skylight in the Marius Hills, but they didn’t have any idea how far that underground cavity might have gone,” said Jay Melosh, professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University.

“Our group at Purdue used the gravity data over that area to infer that the opening was part of a larger system. By using this complimentary technique of radar, they were able to figure out how deep and high the cavities are.”

At the first meeting of the US’ reintroduced National Space Council, vice president Mike Pence announced that the Trump administration will redirect America’s focus to travelling back to the Moon.

Pence’s declaration marks a fundamental change for NASA, which abandoned plans to send people to the moon in favour of Mars under President Barack Obama.

“We will return NASA astronauts to the moon – not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” Pence said.