Ron Garan, the space-tweeting NASA astronaut who returned in September from five-and-a-half-months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), released a video on Monday that he says "is about as close as we can come to show what astronauts see in space."
The video, made from time-lapse photographs taken from the ISS's Cupola observatory module, takes us around the world from Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, North America to South America and Europe to the Middle East, among more than a dozen other journeys. It passes over Hurricanes Katia and Irene and catches a number of lightning bolts in its lens as well.
The ISS orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, and the footage in the video was taken during some of Garan's final "laps" around the planet before returning home.
Finally, we see footage of the Russian Soyuz space capsule -- the very craft containing Garan and two of his fellow Expedition 28 crew mates -- landing back on Earth in Kazakhstan in September.
Garan posted the video, which is set to the music of Peter Gabriel, to Fragile Oasis, a NASA-supported website he founded in 2008 to share his experiences in space and promote the ISS project. It's also a "welcome home" message to three astronauts -- Mike Fossum, Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa -- who are set to return to Earth this week after six months aboard the station.
To make the video, Garan and Fossum set DSLR cameras to take one picture about every three seconds. Garan says that even though the ISS is traveling at a speed of 17,500 mph, time-lapse photography gives the impression that the space station is traveling even faster.
What do you think? Ready to apply for a job as an astronaut? Let us know in the comments. And be sure to click over to Fragile Oasis for more information about the video, including details about the cameras used to make the movie.