An astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this nighttime photograph of the city of Turin in northwestern Italy, home to many Italian car companies and automotive manufacturing plants. Through Italy’s 2018 Smart Road Decree, Turin was chosen as a test site for autonomous driving vehicles. The smart road circuit map for self-driving cars has been traced onto the photo below (resolution approximately 15 meters per pixel) using image editing software and GIS techniques.
Astronaut photographs of cities at night can be clear enough to discern specific features like roads and buildings, as well as dark spaces such as farmland, bodies of water, and mountains. Strings of lights trace the roads that connect Turin’s city center to the mountain valleys of the Italian Alps. Small pockets of light indicate the presence of towns. An outline of the Po River follows the eastern border of Turin as it begins its route from the Alps toward Italy’s agricultural heartland.
Astronaut photograph ISS062-E-102588 was acquired on March 18, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a 200 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 62 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 Andrea Meado, Jacobs/JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.