An astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of Talampaya National Park in the La Rioja Province of Argentina. The high deserts of western Argentina lie in the rain shadow of the Andes mountains, which causes rain and snow to fall on the west side of the range and leads to a dry climate on the east side. Shadows cast to the east of the mountain peaks indicate that this photo was taken during the local late afternoon.
The photo is centered on the red sandstone cliffs of Talampaya National Park, which stand out from the generally muted colors of the landscape. Geologically, the region is mainly comprised of folded sedimentary rock layers that contain an abundance of fossils dating back to the Triassic Period (approximately 250 to 200 million years ago). The bounty of plant, mammal, and dinosaur fossils led to designation of Talampaya as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Astronaut photograph ISS066-E-2028 was acquired on October 19, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 50 millimeters. 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 66 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. 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. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Amber Turner, Jacobs, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.