NASA image: Venice Lagoon from orbit

June 3, 2014 by M. Justin Wilkinson
Credit: NASA

A narrow barrier island protects the Lagoon of Venice from storm waves in the northern Adriatic Sea, and breakwaters protect inlets to the lagoon. Red tiles on the roofs of Venice contrast with the grays of the sister city of Mestre, and the cities are joined by a prominent causeway. What appears to be another causeway joining the island to the airport (top right) is actually the combined wakes of many boats and water taxis shuttling between them. Small, bright agricultural fields on well-drained soils (top left) contrast with the darker vegetation of back-bay swamps, where fishing is a popular pastime.

The water is turbid in the northern half of the , the result of heavy use by watercraft and of dense urban populations on the shores. This turbidity and other issues of environmental concern led to the creation in 2002 of the Atlas of the Lagoon (Atlante della laguna), which was set up to document environmental conditions and to track changes. Today, the Atlante della laguna is available online (in Italian) and provides a comprehensive collection of interpretive maps and imagery—including astronaut photographs from the International Space Station. A detailed view of Venice in 2007 can be viewed here. A more detailed article on the use of astronaut photography to monitor environmental change in the Lagoon of Venice is available here.

This astronaut photograph (ISS039-E-19482) was acquired on May 9, 2014, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 400 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 39 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed.

Explore further: Mass tourism threatening Venice lagoon, say ecologists

Related Stories

Mass tourism threatening Venice lagoon, say ecologists

July 4, 2011

An Italian environmental group warned on Monday that mass tourism is slowly eroding the Venice lagoon, which it said is also threatened by major real estate development and an inadequate transport network.

Image: Great Sandy Desert, Australia

April 9, 2013

(Phys.org) —In northwest Australia, the Great Sandy Desert holds great geological interest as a zone of active sand dune movement. While a variety of dune forms appear across the region, this astronaut photograph features ...

The science of saving Venice

October 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —How will regions around the world adapt to an increase in sea levels? A project looking at how Venice can manage its rising waters is a remarkable case study for flood-prone environments elsewhere.

Image: Grand Canyon geology lessons on view

April 17, 2014

The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of the Colorado River ...

Recommended for you

Image: The ghost of a dying star

August 5, 2015

This extraordinary bubble, glowing like the ghost of a star in the haunting darkness of space, may appear supernatural and mysterious, but it is a familiar astronomical object: a planetary nebula, the remnants of a dying ...

Galaxies show appetite for growth

August 4, 2015

The extent to which galaxies consume one another has been revealed in research. Findings from the study help to explain how galaxies such as the Milky Way were formed.

Will SETI's unprecedented new program finally find E.T.?

August 4, 2015

Stephen Hawking, Frank Drake and dozens of journalists gathered at the Royal Society in London last week to hear astronomers announce a ground-breaking new project to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life called "Breakthrough ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.