Agricultural activities and mining occur side-by-side in the Republic of Kazakhstan. This scene is located in the Turgayskaya Oblast of central Kazakhstan, near the provincial capital of Arkalyk, where Russian spacecraft landings occur. The large, mostly square fields are probably spring wheat, one of the cereal grains that grows well in the cold, dry climate. The colorful, irregular patterns on the left side of the image appear to be surface-mining operations where water has accumulated to form small lakes. Bauxite and asbestos are the principal minerals extracted in this region.
Digital photograph STS112-E-6013 was acquired by the crew of STS-112 on October 17, 2002, with a 400mm lens. It was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.