Astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) have a unique view of the world because of their position in a low orbit (200 nautical miles, 360 km) relative to satellites and their ability to look at any angle out the windows of the spacecraft. ISS crewmembers recently took advantage of their vantage point to photograph a series of oblique views of the Himalayas looking south from over the Tibetan Plateau. At first glance, one might think that the image looks like a picture taken from an airplane, until you remember that the summits of Makalu [left (8,462 meters; 27,765 feet)] and Everest [right (8,850 meters; 29,035 feet)] are at the heights typically flown by commercial aircraft. The full mosaic covers over 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the Himalayan front, and could never be seen this way from an airplane.
The image is part of a larger panorama mosaic of the Himalayas that can be interactively viewed. The popular Find Mt. Everest feature is used to train astronauts to be able to find the peak in a few seconds as they pass over the Himalayas.
Photo Credit: NASA