Arab world's natural beauty captured from space by Sultan Al Neyadi

From dry valleys in Yemen to sand dunes in Saudi Arabia, the Emirati astronaut shares striking photographs taken from the ISS

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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi is putting his camera skills to good use on-board the International Space Station, having captured stunning images of Arab countries from Earth's orbit.

Since arriving at the science laboratory on March 3, he has shared photographs of the natural wonders in the Arab world, ranging from wadis, or dry valleys, in Yemen and sand dunes in Saudi Arabia, to rugged mountains in Oman.

Astronauts going on a space mission are given special training on how to use professional camera equipment so they can document different locations around Earth.

They use the Cupola, a panoramic observatory on the ISS, to capture the photographs as the station circles around the planet 16 times each day.

Some of the images highlight the striking features of Middle Eastern countries, including the sand dunes located along the border of Saudi Arabia and Oman.

UAE's Sultan Al Neyadi 'misses his mother's cooking' as he celebrates birthday in space

UAE's Sultan Al Neyadi 'misses his mother's cooking' as he celebrates birthday in space

Another photograph shows Oman's Dhofar mountains on the coast of the Arabian Sea, with clouds scattered over parts of the country.

Astronauts have been documenting the Mena region from the ISS since it became operational more than 20 years ago.

Taking photos from above also helps governments with urban planning and agricultural initiatives.

Last month, the Arab population on the station rose to three when two Saudi astronauts joined Dr Al Neyadi.

Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al Qarni were aboard the ISS from May 23 to May 30, and captured images of the kingdom from the Cupola while they were there.

Dr Al Neyadi is on the ISS for a six-month mission and is due to return in late August.

Apart from photography, the astronaut has been carrying out research work for scientists across the world, including investigations on how microgravity affects the human heart.

He has also taken calls from space enthusiasts as part of an outreach initiative by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

Updated: June 07, 2023, 11:19 AM