NASA astronaut shares photo of mysterious ‘swirl’ over the South Pacific

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From their position on the International Space Station, astronauts are treated to a unique view of our planet that most people will never have the chance to see.

The ISS orbits Earth at a height of around 250 miles, meaning the space station makes around 16 trips around Earth every single day.

Now, one NASA astronaut on board the ISS has snapped a stunning photo of a mysterious ‘swirl’ over Earth.

Doug Hurley, who has only been on the ISS for two weeks, shared the beautiful image on Twitter.

He wrote: “This light blue ocean swirl caught my eye as we flew over the South Pacific.”

The ocean swirl appears to be an eddy – a swirl in the water cause nutrients that are normally found in colder, deeper waters to come to the surface.

The National Ocean Service explained: “The ocean is a huge body of water that is constantly in motion. General patterns of ocean flow are called currents. Sometimes theses currents can pinch off sections and create circular currents of water called an eddy.”

However, several people on Twitter have put forward a range of alternative theories about Mr Hurley’s photo.

One user suggested the swirl was created by a sea monster, while another compared the swirl to Crush’s journey down the East Australian Current in Finding Nemo.

Mr Hurley arrived on the International Space Station just over two weeks ago, after he and astronaut Bob Behnken launched into space on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

This marks the first time NASA astronauts have been launched into space from the US in nine years.

NASA said: “The Demo-2 mission will be the final major step before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.

“This certification and regular operation of Crew Dragon will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place onboard the station, which benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024.”

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