The São Simão Reservoir, near the confluence of the Rio Paranaiba and Rio Verde in Brazil, is the featured subject in a milestone image of Earth. This colorful, patchwork image is the 300,000th image of Earth downlinked from the International Space Station (ISS). The astronaut photography collection now includes more than 745,000 images of Earth taken by astronaut crews, beginning with the Mercury missions in 1961 and continuing to the present day on the ISS.
The São Simão Reservoir sits at the border between the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais (near the geographic coordinates of 18.7 south, 50.4 west). Though the town of São Simão was founded around 1935, major growth occurred when the hydroelectric power plant and dam were built in 1975, forming the reservoir. The reservoir is part of a major navigation route that allows transport of goods between central Brazil, the Prata River, and the South Atlantic. With 600,000 square kilometers of surface area, the reservoir is also a tourist destination for fishing, swimming, and boating.
In addition to hydroelectric power production, the economy of the region is based in agribusiness. The image highlights agricultural fields of various kinds and in different stages of cultivation. The major commodities include corn, soybeans, sesame seeds, sugarcane, beans, manioc, coffee, and meat.
Astronaut photograph ISS016-E-11999 was acquired on November 22, 2007, with a Kodak 760C digital camera using a 400 mm lens. The image was taken by the Expedition 16 crew. The image is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory 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 Susan Runco, NASA JSC.