Mount Everest from area – Universe at the moment

Earth is a popular target for the cameras and astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This week NASA shared an amazing image of the Himalayan mountain range from space. This rugged mountain range stretches across Asia across the Indian subcontinent and is home to Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on earth. It is centered in the image.

The Himalayan range defines the southern rim of the Tibetan Plateau in an arcuate sweep spanning some 2500 kilometers. The countries of Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan all lie on their borders or have parts of the range that they cross.

History and characteristics of the Himalayas

Geologically, the Himalayas are among the youngest mountain ranges on earth. They began forming when the Eurasian and Old Indo-Australian Plates began a long-term collision. This action began about 225 million years ago. Back then, India was actually an oversized island off the coast of Australia. The action of the two plates contributed to a collision with Asia. The mountains formed 40 to 50 million years ago when the two plates met head-on and the earth’s crust began to fracture. Essentially, older rocks on one slab were being pushed over younger rocks on the other slab. This raised the mountain range over millions of years.

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Today, the Himalayan range has ten of the 14 highest mountains in the world. They range from Mount Everest at 8,848 meters (28,029 feet) to the well-known Dhaulagiri, Karakoram (K2) and Annapurna (both over 8,000 meters). Less well known but no less spectacular are Nanda Devi, Nun and Kangto (members of the 7000+ meter collection). Mount Everest is, of course, a challenge for climbers, with hordes of climbers striving to summit it each season.

Mount Everest as seen from the International Space Station. Image of cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

A snapshot of life in the Himalayas

The politics and international relations of the Himalayan countries are not visible from space. From the ISS we only see land masses and mountains, cut through by rivers, snow-capped peaks and arid deserts. But the region contains several political hotspots. Most people are aware of the complex and tense political relationship between India and Pakistan. Nepal is landlocked and borders Tibet (claimed by China) and Bangladesh. Nearby are parts of India and Bhutan.

The mountain range is sometimes referred to as the “Third Pole” of our planet. They are an important source of water for at least 600 million people. The range also contains the headwaters of several major rivers, including the Indus, Ganges, and Tsangpo-Brahamaputra. At least 53 million people call the mountains home, which also includes a number of ecologically sensitive regions.

This snapshot of the Himalayas is from the ongoing Expedition 69 to the International Space Station. The high-resolution camera was mounted outside the station, which was 423 km (263 miles) above the surface. This current expedition began on March 23, 2023 with seven people on board. It is part of NASA’s effort to map Earth’s mountains in preparation for future surface exploration of the Moon in the Artemis era.

For more informations

The Himalayas and Mount Everest in Nepal
The Himalayas
Continental/Continental: The Himalayas
Expedition 69

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