July 24, 2024

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Five beautiful extraterrestrial places on Earth according to Andre Kuipers

Five beautiful extraterrestrial places on Earth according to Andre Kuipers

Andre Kuipers was selected as an astronaut by the European Space Agency in 1998 and is listed on the European Astronaut Corps. After years of training in Houston, Moscow, Cologne, Montreal and Tokyo, he flew the first eleven-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2004, followed by a 193-day mission in 2011, also to the ISS.

During his missions, Kuipers took countless photographs of Earth and reported on his experiences in the media. He recently told National Geographic magazine about the five places that fascinate him more than space.

ESA/NASA

The turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean around the Bahamas.

1. Bahamas

“There are some very colorful places that stand out immediately, like the Bahamas, which ranks number one. The Bahamas can be clearly seen from space: it is a large area with bright turquoise waters, and even the underwater structure of sand and coral can be seen.

I immediately thought: wow, I want to go there, I want to dive there. Shortly after my return, my wife Helen and I went diving with sharks and dolphins on that white sand you can see through the water. That was very special.

2. The Australian Outback

“Another place that’s also beautiful in terms of color from space is the Australian Outback. It’s a vast red desert with big salt lakes, and all kinds of weird geological structures, as if someone had painted them.

Oddly enough, I have never been to Australia, but I have been to New Zealand and Indonesia. Ever since I saw it from space, I wanted to go there, specifically those remote areas. Since it’s so far inland, this would be an amazing feat, but I’d love to stand on a salt lake like this one day.

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The Australian Outback as seen from space

ESA/NASA

The Australian Outback as seen from space.

3. Tibetan Plateau

“The Tibetan Plateau was also beautiful to see: slightly ocher with lakes here and there bright green or icy blue, when frozen. And next to it, of course, is the Himalayan mountain range.

After my first mission, I got married and wanted to orbit Earth again for my honeymoon, but this time on the surface of our planet. And thus also to the highest point, or at least close to it. It became a plateau. We did not train to climb Mount Everest, although we did go to base camp (at an altitude of more than five thousand metres).’

Frozen lake Puma Yumko in Tibet

ESA/NASA

Frozen lake Boma Yumko in Tibet.

4. Lake Powell, Utah (USA)

“I proposed to Helen in 2002 in Lake Powell, in the southwestern United States. It’s also nice to see the Colorado River Basin from space. Anyway, the whole area has its own colors: Salt Lake City, with its pink and green salt lakes, and the red Grand Canyon, of course.” , so Lake Powell with its many branches is a very pure place, because you have nothing but green water, blue sky, and red and white rocks. That’s it.’

Lake Powell, Colorado River, and Grand Canyon in Utah vs

ESA/NASA

Lake Powell, Colorado River and Grand Canyon in Utah (USA).

5. New Zealand

“New Zealand has such beautiful glaciers. In the North Island there is a very special circular volcano, Mount Egmond. You see agriculture around it and then suddenly this volcano appears. New Zealand is beautiful to photograph from space. And oh, the Maldives were also very beautiful to watch. But then We have six again.

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I read an abridged version of the interview with Andre Kuipers in Traveler 3/2024. Do you prefer reading on paper? Subscribe to Traveler here!

New Zealand has more than three thousand glaciers

ESA/NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Aerospace Systems

New Zealand has more than three thousand glaciers.