An astronaut flying aboard the International Space Station took this long lens photograph of part of Doha, the capital city of Qatar, located on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island spanning approximately 1.5 square kilometers (0.6 square miles), extends from the mainland and is among the first properties in Qatar that can be owned by non-Qataris. Deep canals have been cut around the islands, and they lead out into the Persian Gulf. (Click here to see an image of yachts lining the canal at night.)
The Pearl-Qatar infrastructure was built to resemble a string of pearls in recognition of the historical pearl-diving sites upon which the island complex is built. The proposal of the artificial islands started in 2004 and construction is expected to end in 2018 with ten precincts, 31 towering buildings, and 4,700 apartments.
With more than 2 million inhabitants, Doha is a center of economic activity for the region. The city will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, the first time the soccer tournament will be held in the Middle East. With this large population and a push for tourism comes challenges in finding sustainable supplies of drinking water. Qatar has an arid desert climate with hot, long summers (March to September), and annual rainfall is scarce and unpredictable. The Doha Groundwater Basin sits below the city and is mainly used for irrigation. In consequence, the city is turning to desalination of sea water to supply potable water to residents.
Astronaut photograph ISS053-E-127736 was acquired on October 23, 2017, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a 1600 millimeter lens, and 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 53 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 Andi Hollier, Hx5, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.