Exciting news! The British astronaut Tim Peake has Tweeted a photograph he took from the International Space Station of the Yucatan Peninsula – on my suggestion – while the scientific drilling is taking place. This would have required quite a bit of planning, for the ISS to pass over, and when Tim had some free time. He really scored a bullseye with the impact site smack in the middle of the picture – and the drilling platform 30 km offshore. You can really imagine an asteroid coming in from space in that picture, and creating a 180 km crater — which would be a big chunk of the peninsula.
As part of my work for the UK Space Agency, I have been photographing Tim for the past few years — training in Germany and Russia, and also for his visits to the UK. While Tim has been on the ISS I have been giving him general in-orbit photography training for his mission. Specifically I have suggested he photographs impact craters on the Earth, and I provided him with a list of those targets, with the help of Asteroid Day team members Alan Fitzsimmons and Mark Boslough, including the Yucatan Peninsula. This is part of the close relationship that Asteroid Day has with the European Space Agency, and their work with asteroids.
To mark 1 month till Asteroid Day 2016 (June 30), ESA astronaut Tim Peake sent two beautiful pictures back to Earth showing Canada’s 210 million year old Manicouagan impact crater. Thanks to our Photographer-in-Residence, Max Alexander, for helping Tim with the shots.
“I am delighted that Tim Peake has tweeted pictures of another impact crater taken from the International Space Station, with a shout-out to Asteroid Day, and their partnership with the European Space Agency. The impact crater is outlined by Lake Manicouagan, and is a massive 100 km across – about the distance from London to Portsmouth. It may also have been a mass extinction event, like the impact at Chicxulub, Mexico.” Max Alexander