STS044-082-057 Aldabra Islands, Indian Ocean November 1991 The islands of Aldabra and Assumption, part of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean northwest of Madagascar, appear in this near-vertical photograph. Larger Aldabra, an oval atoll more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) long, encloses a large lagoon. The islands cover 60 square miles (155 square kilometers) and are known for their distinct fauna, particularly the giant land tortoise.
The Aldabra Islands, two coral atolls of the Seychelle Archipelago (9.5S, 46.5E) in the Indian Ocean, because of their remotness, have a rare ecosystem almost completely untouched by outside influences. About 10 % of the plant and animal life is unique to the atolls and therefore, development of the area has been barred. Assumption, the smaller atoll has a small aircraft runway to support occasional environmental or scientific survey teams.