ISS013-E-28610 (31 May 2006) --- Nukuoro Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the International Space Station. Located just north of the equator (3.85 degrees N, 154.9 degrees E), this classically-shaped atoll is part of the Caroline Island chain, which stretches northeast of Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific (roughly north of Guadalcanal, and southeast of Guam and Truk Islands). Nukuoro is one of 607 islands that make up the Federated States of Micronesia, a United Nations Trust Territory under US administration. About 900 people live on the atoll whose lagoon is 6 kilometers in diameter. The image shows the sandy atoll with 42 distinct patches of vegetation. These patches are located on the northeast and east portions of the atoll that face the dominant Easterly winds. The image shows the larger fields and settlement on the inland side of the largest forest patch protected from the wind. The land surface is probably slightly higher above sea level here because dunes build up preferentially on wind-facing slopes where beach sand is mobilized by wind. Swells driven by these winds can be seen approaching from the east-southeast (right) and wrapping around the atoll to produce an interference pattern on the downwind side. Water in the lagoon is notably calm in comparison. Coral heads appear in the lagoon, one dead center of the image.
STS-103 Shuttle Mission...
S103-E-5361 (24 December 1999) --- This vertical view from the Space Shuttle Discovery shows two small islands of the Marianas Islands (Saipan and Tinian) in Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean. The STS-103 crew recorded this electronic still image at 28:05:53 GMT, December 24, 1999.
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