A Beautiful Disaster

Aug. 27, 2011


We’ve been watching Hurricane Irene take shape as we’ve flown overhead the last few days.  I took this picture as she was clearing the Caribbean and pressing toward the Carolinas on Friday afternoon. Stunning. And scary.


When I look down from my vantage point on the space station, most of the time I marvel at the complexity and beauty of our home planet. We mostly look for bits of brown and green (i.e., land) on an otherwise blue and white tapestry of ocean and clouds. In fairness, you can sometimes see traces of ocean currents and mildly interesting patterns in the clouds, but those just don’t draw my attention like the land with its mountains, rivers, fields, and pallet of colors.


This week I watched a mildly interesting circular pattern of clouds turn into a fearsome storm. I may never look at clouds with marginal interest again.

After living on the Texas Gulf Coast for most of my life and experiencing the raw power of several hurricanes first-hand, this sight of a full-blown hurricane evokes a lot of emotions.


Good luck down there!

You’re in our thoughts and prayers up here!!


Living the Dream!


-Mike Fossum

 ISS Expedition 28/29

10 thoughts on “A Beautiful Disaster”

  1. Thank You for this beautiful view and your thoughts and concerns.
    We are also concerned about your safety and support up there with all I have haard about the ISS’s future affected by funding losses of NASA, and the recent rocket explosion in Russia. (hope I have that right). God Speed, We are praying for the Safety and Full Support of you and the Crew and the valuable I.S.S. Come Home Safely.

  2. Very nice picture! My hometown of Bristol, CT. (where ESPN is headquartered) was pretty hard-hit and got a lot of flooding of the local river, the Pequabuck. I was following it on Facebook (as I’m living in north-central AZ now) and saw all of the photos and videos that several ‘Bristol-ites’ posted there.

    As with several hundred thousand others, I just wish I could be up there with you, as spaceflight was always a dream of mine (never to be realized).

    Mike Belanger
    Prescott, AZ.

  3. Thank you very much..this is wonderful pic.
    We wish for all the people..Good Luck..and
    God bless everyone..

  4. Are there things in the weather patterns that you can see with your “Mark 1” eyeball that we don’t see in the satellite images that are today so common?

  5. It’s mysterious and awesome. Beyond the full capacity of human understanding. Continue to be elated as well as wise.

  6. Hi,
    Our home planet is beautiful. Maybe you will find some other similar. When you are looking for green and a little bit brown colour think about Gdansk where I’m living. Thank you very much for your Hevelius wishes. keep warm and the best regards to all of you. Malgorzata from Gdansk

  7. It’s really wonderful to live a dream, one should brave enough to live one, I mean the one you are living,
    Lot of Blessings for you !

    I am Chandana,
    A Sri Lankan

  8. Hiya i have been watching you all fly overhead for about 6 months now and would justlike to say thanks for giving us the chance to experience this amazing journey with you i watch in awe as you pass overhead and can only imagine what its like to look at earth from up there and i can honestly say i would love to b there one day my children have also seen you flying over what do meteor showers look like from there and are they a threat to you i wonder thanks again . Andy cooper

  9. Such beauty to cause so much chaos on our little blue planet. It looks so peaceful. I wish I’d been better at math back in the day to have been able to work at NASA. but then my love of volcanos may have lead me to that field. I live in Houston too. We are praying for just a tropical depression. God speed. All of u on the ISS stay in my prayers. Celia

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