One undeniable upside of the social media age is the sharing of bird’s eye view content by the inhabitants of the International Space Station. In mid-November, astronaut Christina Koch, who has been in space since March 14 of this year, shared this stunningly serene image of a glacier in southern Patagonia on her personal Twitter account:
Users identified the ice body as Perito Moreno, a 97-square mile glacier in the southern Patagonia ice field. The glacier is one of 48 in the region, which comprises the third largest reservoir of fresh water in the world. Perito Moreno Glacier is named after Argentine’s Francisco Moreno, an explorer in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The nickname ‘Perito’ means ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’.
One month before the photo was captured, Koch and Jessica Meir became the first women to participate in an all-female spacewalk. According to NASA, Koch’s career prior to becoming an Astronaut spanned two general areas: space science instrument development and remote scientific field engineering. Koch has been sharing her experience openly:
Koch is no stranger to the cryosphere. From her NASA bio: “Koch became a Research Associate in the United States Antarctic Program from 2004 to 2007. This included a year long stay with a winter-over at the Admunsen-Scott South Pole Station and a season at Palmer Station. While in this role, she served as a member of the Firefighting Teams and Ocean and Glacier Search and Rescue Teams…In 2010, Koch returned to remote scientific field work with tours including Palmer Station in Antarctica and multiple winter seasons at Summit Station in Greenland.”
One Twitter user replied to Koch’s image with a ground perspective of the same glacier:
The International Space Station may at first seem unrelated to Earth’s cryosphere—but it’s not. NASA astronauts flying in low-Earth orbit aboard the artificial satellite have captured images of America’s majestic national parks, including those shaped over thousands of years by the imperceptibly slow movements of glaciers.
While experiments on ISS often focus on robotics, the human immune system, and even methods for growing lettuce, the satellite’s cameras capture live video and still images as it orbits Earth at an altitude of 250 miles above the planet’s surface.
Take a look here at majestic views of the US National Park system captured by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams. His images depict glacier-rich landscapes such as Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and Washington’s Olympic National Park, among many others.