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7 NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu considers Honolulu to be his hometown,
and the view from the International Space Station clearly inspired
him to photograph the city.
The city is
striking for the way it is bound by surrounding geography. Built-up
fingers of the city extend northeast onto the steep volcanic slopes
and surround the volcanic craters of Punchbowl and Diamond Head,
leaving undeveloped only parklands and the steepest ridges. They
are both tuff cones that formed as magma from the erupting volcano
came in contact with ground water at a time when sea levels were
higher than they are now. As the water turned to steam, it caused
an explosion that formed a hill of ash with a broad crater in the
Punchbowl Crater was known as Pu'owaina, or "Hill of Sacrifice,"
and was a site of royal burials. Punchbowl is also the site of the
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The area includes over
38,000 graves of U.S. service men and women beginning with casualties
of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Ellison Onizuka, one of the
Space Shuttle Challenger crew killed in 1986, is also buried there.
was called Le'ahi in Hawaiian or "Brow of the yellowfin tuna (ahi)."
British sailors in the 1700s saw calcite crystals sparkling on the
crater and gave it its English name. One of the major "must see"
tourist destinations on Oahu, Diamond Head is managed as a Hawaii
State Monument, and plans are in place to reduce vehicle traffic
and restore the natural vegetation.
was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory
at Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts
take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists
and the public, and to make those images freely available on the
Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can
be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway
to Astronaut Photography of Earth.