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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS056-E-32453 Date: Jun. 2018
Geographic Region: WESTERN SAHARA

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  Bou Craa Phosphate Mine, Western Sahara

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph of the Bou Craa open-cast (or open-pit) phosphate mine. Phosphate is a prime component of agricultural fertilizer, and Bou Craa is one of the largest phosphate mines in the world. The site produces around 2.4 million tons annually, 14 percent of the world's production (2011).

Parallel trenches are cut into the phosphate deposits to facilitate extraction of the material. The mine is one of the few human patterns visible from space in this almost entirely uninhabited western extremity of the Sahara Desert.

The world's longest conveyor belt (100 kilomters/60 miles) transports the rock to the coast for shipment to users around the world. Part of the conveyor belt appears near the central crushing facility. The belt structure, which carries 2,000 metric tons of rock per hour, is so long and straight that it has often attracted astronaut attention in this otherwise almost featureless landscape.

Most of the people in this territory either work at Bou Craa or live in the coastal town of El Aaiun, Western Sahara's largest city. The area of the mine has grown significantly in the past five decades. Thorough reworking of the near-surface rock makes the early excavation patterns unrecognizable today.

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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 474k
Mission: ISS056  
Roll - Frame: E - 32453
Geographical Name: WESTERN SAHARA  
Center Lat x Lon: 26.4N x 12.8W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: N8
Camera Tilt: HO   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 1600  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number:  
Date: 20180616   YYYYMMDD
Time: 102747   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 32.2N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 9.5W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 98   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 217   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 60   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views:  
Water Views:  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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