Pangong Lake in Winter

Pangong Lake in Winter

A crew member aboard the International Space Station took this photo of a 15-kilometer (9.5-mile) section of Pangong Lake (Pangong Tso) on the western end of the Tibetan Plateau. In total, the lake extends 134 kilometers (83 miles) and spans the international border between India and China. The lake is one of the highest in the world, at an elevation of 4,225 meters (13,862 feet).

In this winter scene, a sheet of cracked ice tops part of the lake (right side of the image). On the left side, open water appears blue. Shallow water offshore of a delta, formed by a small, winding river, appears green.

Parallel lines along the coastlines of bays are visible in the high-resolution version of this image. These lines indicate raised beaches, which formed in the past when lake levels were higher.

Several roads cut across the landscape, including one with switchbacks that ascends a steep slope. These roads facilitate tourist travel from both India and China. During the summer, species such as bar-headed geese and Brahminy ducks attract bird watchers to the lake, which is a major breeding ground for migrating birds.

Astronaut photograph ISS070-E-80680 was acquired on January 25, 2024, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 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 70 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 Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.