This photo is beautiful, evocative, even entrancing, but as soon as you learn what it shows, it'll haunt you.
Yep, that's what Gaza looks like from space.
Some astronauts describe experiencing something called the "overview effect" while looking down at Earth from space. They see Earth, hanging in darkness like a marble, vulnerable but for a thin, glowing atmosphere. And they realize something that people on Earth have trouble seeing — that we are all in this together, living on this tiny little marble surrounded by a perhaps infinite universe. Looking down from space, there are no national borders, no conflicts. It sounds cheesy, but according to the astronauts who've experienced it, it was a profound shift in consciousness.
Perhaps that's what makes this photo so unsettling. Humans murdering other humans with such massive fire power and hatred that you can watch the death and destruction unfold from 200 miles above Earth.
Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut on the International Space Station, posted this photograph to Twitter this afternoon. He calls it his "saddest photo yet." It's hard to disagree.
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) July 23, 2014