BOCA CHICA VILLAGE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Amid swirls of greens, tans and olive a few white forms appear.
Seen from the International Space Station, SpaceX’s developments along State Highway 4 near Boca Chica Beach look small. But the photos also reveal just how much SpaceX has already built at its Starbase, USA.
The photo also stirs the imagination about what a colony on a futuristic Martian landscape might look like in comparison, perhaps from a view orbiting Mars, if Elon Musk obtains his goal of sending mankind to the red planet.
At ground level, the facilities are photographed regularly by people who pull over on the state highway. They take snapshots of rockets, selfies with the launchpad in the background, and capture the signs and graphitti, such as a scrawl of paint saying, “To Mars a& Beyond…”.
However, the photo from space provided an entirely new perspective and was released this week by NASA. The photo, taken Sept. 19, 2022, details a huge swath of rural Cameron County, where the Rio Grande pours into the Gulf of Mexico and tidal waters flow in and out of the Bahia Grande, South Bay and the Laguna Madre.
“Prior rainfall delivered light-colored sediment into the surrounding coastal wetlands near the SpaceX Starbase,” NASA said. “Sediment also entered the Brownsville Ship Channel and South Bay Coastal Preserve, a nursery area for fish, shellfish, and dolphins.”
Sediment can also be seen at the mouth of the Rio Grande, lightening the waters along Boca Chica Beach as the sediment is pushed to the north.
“The Rio Grande frequently transports sediment which causes buildup in the bends of the river,” NASA said. “The sediment buildup can disrupt water flow, redirect the river path, and result in detached bends called oxbow lakes.”
Valley residents refer to those oxbow lakes as “resacas.”
The photograph, ISS067-E-373247, was captured with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 millimeters, NASA said. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.
The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 67 crew.
“The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab 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,” NASA said. “Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.“