Hurricane Dean From Space

Experiments of the basil-in-space variety don't always seem to be worth all the money and effort put into NASA's shuttle flights, but photos like the one at left, taken by spacewalking astronauts this Saturday, get to one of the core reasons we're up there in the first place: Perspective.

This shot of the eye of Hurricane Dean is stunning in and of itself, but it's the fact that people were up there in orbit, high above the planet, that really resonates. (It's also reminiscent of a scene in 2004's global warming thriller The Day After Tomorrow, in which astronauts watch the apocalyptic storms forming and growing.) Astronaut Clayton Anderson described it as "scary," and fellow space-walker Dave Williams said, "Holy smokes, that's impressive." The two astronauts briefly paused in their duties on Saturday to take the shots of the storm, and while Hurricane Dean doesn't appear to pose any threat to a safe landing, NASA has cut short this latest mission. Endeavour is now scheduled for a Tuesday landing.—Gregory Mone