French astronaut shares captivating images of Earth

While they might look like fungi under a microscope, these photographs are actually of mountain ranges and cityscapes.

Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut and photographer recently returned from a six-month stint on board the International Space Station. He was part of a maintenance team sent to the ISS to conduct a series of scientific experiments and took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of life in zero gravity.

The Normandy-born spaceman plummeted back to Earth last month, armed with hundreds of pictures taken of happenings aboard the ISS including crew selfies. But it is this collection of the world’s landscapes that skyrocketed Pesquet’s Instagram page to about 430 000 followers.

His photographs reveal the disparity between man-made and natural vistas as well as the weird similarity that emerges after looking at biology extremely closely and from afar. What may seem like a cluster of bacteria in a petri dish is actually a huge river ecosystem in Madagascar.