Farming on Fertile Land in France

Farming on Fertile Land in France

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station photographed this agricultural region just outside of Lyon in east-central France in April 2022. The fertile land of the Rhône River floodplain includes several smaller cities and towns.

The Rhône River skirts the perimeter of the image and is joined by the Ain River near the bottom of the scene. The Rhône River appears dark blue, while the Ain River has a brown hue due to its higher concentration of suspended sediment. The river floodplains include meander scars and oxbow cutoffs, several of which are filled with dark green vegetation.

Angular agricultural fields range from tan to green and vary in color due to primary crops, such as wheat, barley, rapeseed, corn, and sunflowers. Reddish agricultural plots indicate recent planting or tilling. The region’s mild climate, fertile soils, and abundant water sources make it an ideal place for farming.

The large, dark feature on the left of the image is Camp de La Valbonne, a military site established over 150 years ago. Just north of this site, blue-toned tailings ponds support industries such as mining companies and concrete suppliers. A highway stretches across the image and connects Lyon to industrial areas, like the commune of Saint-Vulbas. An oval-shaped horse-racing track is visible northwest of the commune.


Astronaut photograph ISS067-E-19015 was acquired on April 17, 2022, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1,150 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 67 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 Sara Schmidt, GeoControl Systems, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.