Food & Drink

The image of the Southern Alps, shot by a member of the Expedition 64 Crew, was the image of the day on the Nasa Earth Observatory website, on Sunday.

A photograph showing the spine of New Zealands South Island, has been released by the National Aeronautical Space Administration (Nasa).
The image of the Southern Alps, shot by a member of the Expedition 64 Crew, was the image of the day on the Nasa Earth Observatory website, on Sunday, and shows the mountain range where plate tectonics and glaciers have dramatically shaped the land through earthquakes, mountain building and erosion, it says.
As well as pointing out New Zealands highest peak Aoraki/Mt Cook, the image shows Lake Takap/Tekapo, Pukaki and hau.
It [the photograph] has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed, the website says.
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Nasa said the image was taken on March 18, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 95 millimeters.
South of Aoraki, puffy clouds fill a major valley, it says.
Rivers run through deep glacial valleys; their tan and gray colors are due to the load of sediment (including glacial flour) they carry down from the mountains.
The Southern Alps create an orographic effect that separates the countrys wettest and driest climates, it says.
The narrow strip of green, vegetated land along the coast receives the countrys highest annual rainfall due to westerlies that blow in from the Tasman Sea and drop their moisture as they run into the mountains.
In contrast, New Zealands driest areas lie just southeast of the mountains, where the brightly colored lakes stand out against the dry, tan landscapes.
Expedition 64 began in October 2020 and ended last month, conducting research which Nasa said provided the foundation for continuing human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.
During the expedition the crew studied how mining with microbes might be used on asteroids, conducted cancer therapy research, continued research into the effects of microgravity and even grew radishes in a study to better understand plant growth and nutrition in microgravity.
When astronauts travel to the Moon and Mars, they are likely to grow edible plants to supplement food brought from Earth, Nasa said.
To produce nutritious food in space, we need to understand how the difference in gravity, atmosphere and soil conditions affect the way plants grow.
The crew members comprised Sergey Ryzhikov, the commander, and space engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of Russia’s space programme Roscosmos, Soichi Noguchi, a flight engineer from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), and Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Kate Rubins, and Shannon Walker, all flight engineers from Nasa.
The image was provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.