Astrophoto: Space Station on the Moon

by Nancy Atkinson on January 14, 2014

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The International Space Station captured as it passed in front of the Moon on Dec. 6, 2013, as seen from Puerto Rico. Credit and copyright: Juan Gonzalez-Alicea.

The International Space Station captured as it passed in front of the Moon on Dec. 6, 2013, as seen from Puerto Rico. Credit and copyright: Juan Gonzalez-Alicea.

We can dream, right? … because we’d all love to have a space station on the Moon. But this is as close as we’re going to get for the foreseeable future, anyway. Juan Gonzalez-Alicea of Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe in Puerto Rico captured this great image of the International Space Station crossing in front of the crescent Moon on Dec. 6, 2013. He used a Canon 7D with a 300 mm lens, and actually got a fair amount of detail. A shot like this is tricky, as from our vantage point on Earth, it takes just a half second for the International Space Station to fly across the face of the Moon, so timing is everything!

To see another great shot of the ISS crossing in front of the Moon, check out Theirry Legault’s photo from 2010, which shows absolutely incredible detail.

And to see more great astrophotos, check out our Flickr page.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Kapitalist January 14, 2014 at 1:28 PM

At 1/1000th of the distance to the Moon, one must remember.
The ISS orbits at the lowest possible altitude. And it is on the way to nowhere. It ORBITS in (almost)space, but it doesn’t TRAVEL through space. A project to be pointlessly continued for another 10 years, it has now been politically decided.

Torrey McGlenn January 14, 2014 at 3:37 PM

The continuation of the ISS is pointless??? That seems to be a very unimaginative statement. The research conducted thus far has been a boon to many different industries, has expanded our knowledge base, and helps to bolster the global scientific community. Do you know something about the future that the rest of us don’t?

Kapitalist January 14, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Of all the diseases on Earth, micro gravity is certainly not one of them! Of all the technical problems we have on Earth, micro gravity is not one of them. “Research” into those non-problems is meaningless and worthless.

Nor would they be useful on a TRAVEL THROUGH space to an object (the anti-ISS concept). Be it Moon, Mars or asteroid. Because then artificial gravity (centrifugal) could easily be arranged to mechanically eliminate all of the health and technical problems onboard of the ISS. The ISS contributes nothing at all to the knowledge of how to explore other celestial objects, of how to travel through space. The ISS just orbits to nowhere for ever and lists ever more severe problems with unnecessary long term micro gravity in LEO.

ISS has “expanded knowledge” and been a “boon to some industry”, for sure. But that knowledge and that industry is of no value for space TRAVEL! The ISS might very well stay another 40 years in LEO. It won’t ever get anywhere, because it doesn’t even aim to get anywhere. It’s a ship stuck in the harbour. And the public is getting very bored with it and wants to cut it down, because it never achieved anything, and has no plan to do it either. Looser!

Peter Ateo January 15, 2014 at 1:22 AM

Even just to provide docking practice for private space companies, increase the collective space-walk / system-repair competence, improved space suit design, life-support operation and zero-gravity experience for astronauts, it’s worth it.
We may have been to the moon 40+ years ago, but most of the ensuing time has been squandered because the budget was wasted on turd-world battles overseas and domestic pork (if we’re going to waste money, couldn’t we have instead wasted it subsidizing awesome high-tech roller coaster parks, or on finally bringing out the flying cars and jet packs ‘they’ promised us eons ago when cars still had fins?)

I think you’re missing the ISS’s pedestrian benefit: gaining basic experience in space. This will undoubtedly be useful for space travel too, as you are pushing for.
In addition, the biggest reason to keep the ISS in orbit is to inspire the youth of tomorrow to pursue the sciences. Look on YouTube for Neil Degrasse Tyson’s speeches on “Space as Culture” and see how many aspects of our lives have benefited either directly, indirectly or inspirationally from the space program.
Eschewing copious practice close to home may also mean more frozen corpses silently enroute to some future destination — and the unending inane braying by the timid and the weak-minded idiots we have given the reigns of power to in that awful swampland next to Maryland.

Kapitalist January 15, 2014 at 6:26 AM

Docking experience, to say the least, yes! 100+ of dockings. As far as i know no docking has ever failed, since the very first attempt. We know how to do that now. It’s time to move on to challenges instead. The ISS consumes a large fraction of space launches, just to send water and clean clothing to its crew. Instead of sending advanced probes to explore celestial objects.

Experiences from microgravity have little use for manned space travel to the Moon, Mars, asteroids, outer planet’s moons. Because then you have artificial och natural gravity which gives very different working conditions than a space walk. The many difficult health problems with long during microgravity is easily avoided by engineering a centrifuge with a long cable. Life support systems work quite different in microgravity too, the toilett for example. And the ISS doesn’t even use closed loop for water, as far as I understand. The experiences from ISS have little or no value for real manned space travel. Those many tens of billions of NASA dollars could be better spent on actually sending astronauts to Mars instead.

Spending decades on going nowhere does not by far inspire as much as actually traveling THROUGH space would. In WW1 Germans got angry with their expensive navy because it lay anchored in the harbours instead of participating in the war along with the army. That is an analog when we compare NASA:s useless manned program with the successful telescopes and planetary probes.

David D January 19, 2014 at 11:21 AM

When I was a kid the first man orbited the earth before I was a man we had landed on the moon. Since then we have not done much toward becoming a spacefaring people.

If humanity does not get off the earth, we will deplete the resources of the planet to the point that economic growth is not possible and civilization will enter a dark age.

The best way to get off the planet is to have companies make money doing it.

If the USA were to allow Boston Dynamics’ robots to establish mining claims on the Moon, so that they could profit from the mineral wealth of the moon, rapid progress would be made.

Save Humanity, Support Lunar Mining Claim Law.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mining_Act_of_1872

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