The night lights of South Africa are blanketed by Earth's atmospheric glow and a starry night sky. Picture: Nasa
The night lights of South Africa are blanketed by Earth's atmospheric glow and a starry night sky. Picture: Nasa

Nasa astronaut gives stunning glimpse of how Cape Town looks at night from space

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Aug 16, 2021

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Cape Town - Nasa astronaut and US Army Colonel Shane Kimbrough shared a stunning glimpse of what Cape Town looked like while aboard the International Space Station.

Kimbrough, who has been sharing life from Nasa and the International Space Station, is part of the crew conducting various scientific investigations while in space.

Recent investigations included using engineered tissues to study muscle loss, advancing plant growth in space, and running a computer-based education programme.

The orbiting lab provides a platform for long-duration research in microgravity and for learning to live and work in space, experience that supports Artemis, Nasa’s programme to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.

Kimbrough recently “thinned” chilli pepper plants as part of the Plant Habitat-04 experiment. The experiment involves growing New Mexico hatch green chilli peppers in the advanced plant habitat.

According to Nasa: “Peppers have not been grown in space before because they take a long time to germinate, grow, and develop fruit. Researchers evaluated more than two dozen pepper varieties from around the world before selecting Española improved peppers.

“These peppers have a Scoville heat rating of 2 000-4 000 (less than half that of a jalapeno), but their spiciness could change in microgravity.

“The investigation includes microbial analysis to improve understanding of plant-microbe interactions in space, assessment of flavour and texture, and nutritional analysis. The crew trimmed the plants to enhance growth and took photos during the week.”

The experiment forms part of a number of studies on the space station that has proven that plants can grow in microgravity. Current investigations examine the health benefits of plants, including growing peppers in space for the first time.

These experiments definitely keep the Nasa crew members pre-occupied, but being on the space station also allows them the chance to see Earth in ways that many people never will.

While drifting thousands of miles above Earth, Kimbrough has been sharing what the world and cities look like, and just last week he shared what Cape Town looked like at night.

Kimbrough also posted stunning images of what other countries look like from his view in space.

Cape Argus

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