National Geographic : 1996 Nov
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC graphic.a Our Map Pinpoints a View From Space ASTRONAUT Rick Searfoss couldn't "devour" the April GEOGRAPHIC the minute it arrived as he normally does. He was 240 miles out in space, piloting the shuttle Atlantis in its linkup with the Russian space station Mir. And he was taking photographs. On an earlier mission he had made a picture of Mount Everest that impressed NASA scientists. Now they wanted a view of K2. So on a pass over the Himalaya region he aimed his camera, with its 250-mm telephoto lens, out the shuttle's overhead window and, with 20 seconds available, shot several photographs. When Searfoss returned to Houston's Johnson Space Flight Center and started sorting the pictures, he had trouble deter mining just where K2 was: All the mountains looked alike. Then he went home and in his GEOGRAPHIC found the hand drawn relief map (bottom) in the Trango Tower article. "It blew me away," he recalls. "I took the map right back to the office, went to the scenes with K2 in them, and spotted it. I thought that was awesome, just as if I'd planned it." m His image (top) was , one of 4,000 photo graphs of Earth made by crewmen G. on the nine-day G . 44c ' , flight. "Geolo gists have itched for a great photogra of that region," says the two-time space traveler. "Ever astronaut loves to take pictures of the Earth. To me, that's the best part of flying in space."