Astronaut Takes Photo of Pyramids During His Last Day on ISS

The International Space Station is a triumph of human dreams and engineering. It has orbited the Earth for over 25 years now, and it has been visited by over 270 astronauts hailing from around the world. It has hosted an impressive 269 spacewalks, but it mainly serves as a laboratory in space for the conducting of high-tech research that has illuminated the far reaches of the galaxy. The station whips around the globe in 92 minutes, giving stunning views to its select astronaut inhabitants—including 16 sunrises and sunsets per day. On his last day on the ISS in 2015, retired NASA Commander of the International Space Station, Terry Virts, indulged his passion for photography one last time to capture an ancient view—that of the Egyptian pyramids.

The stunning image peers down upon the pyramids, which look shockingly large and solid. These monuments, a wonder of the ancient world, were as impressive a human feat in their day as the the ISS was the the millennia. They blend into the nearby sand, but their building blocks are visible. The view from space is pretty incredible. “I was ready to stay up there because there were still pictures I wanted to take, there were still videos I wanted to do,” Virts told Time Magazine back then. “If you’re an astronaut flying in space, you gotta look at that as your last flight. And so you gotta enjoy it. And I’ve got the rest of my life to be on Earth.”

Virts had a prolific career with NASA and in the US Air Force. “I was hooked at a very young age,” Terry admitted. “I grew up with posters of space, rockets and galaxies on my wall. Even then, I loved astronomy, learning about it in magazines. My parents even got me a telescope when I was in sixth grade.” Reading the famous book The Right Stuff propelled him to strive for the career as a teen. “My favorite part of being in space was obviously the view,” Virts told Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in 2023. “Someone had to count up the images I took, and they told me that I had taken the most pictures ever in space. People always ask me if I would go back, and I tell them I would if I could make a movie. Seeing the Aurora Borealis is rare and it was amazing. I also enjoyed seeing the galaxy at night with so many stars, different deserts, the Bahamas and the coloration of the planet.”

Astronaut Terry Virts loved shooting photography from his postings on the International Space Station—on his last day he even captured the pyramids of Egypt.


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Astronaut Takes Photo of Pyramids During His Last Day on ISS

The International Space Station, photographed in 2010. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

h/t: [IFL Science]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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