Grand Canyon made the news last week when NASA circulated a photo taken from the International Space Station (ISS). According to NASA, Grand Canyon is “a favorite for astronauts shooting photos.” It’s easy to see why. It is, quite literally, one of the most distinctive features on our planet.
The photo below was taken by a member of the Expedition 39 crew aboard the ISS, and shows Grand Canyon from its beginning all the way down to (roughly) River Mile 160. After looking at my topo map for Grand Canyon West, I believe that a very small portion of Toroweap Valley is visible on the left-hand side of the photo. On the right-hand side of the photo, Marble Canyon and the Little Colorado gorge are clearly visible. The Vermillion Cliffs and Paria Plateau can be seen near the top of the photo.
What’s not visible? More than 100 miles of the Colorado River as it flows through western Grand Canyon. Photography tip for astronauts: Use a wide-angle lens to capture Grand Canyon from space.
If you’d like to see a bigger version of this photo, click the image above. NASA also circulated an annotated version of this photo. It nicely illustrates where Grand Canyon Village and the South Rim are situated with respect to the canyon as a whole.