Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Astronaut Karen Nyberg captures Typhoon Haiyan from space

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NASA astronaut captures typhoon Haiyan over Philippines, from space
  • Karen Nyberg speaks to CNN after 166-day mission in space
  • Conducted experiments on astronauts' eyesight and bone density

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time -- remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more.

(CNN) -- Floating high above the Earth, astronaut Karen Nyberg pointed her camera at a swirling white cloud spreading across the planet. Little did she know the devastation that was unfurling beneath.

This remarkable image of Super Typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines, was taken by the NASA astronaut during a five-month mission in space.

Typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines, as seen from space on November 9.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

It was one of many specular photographs taken by Nyberg -- who in 2008 became the 50th woman in space -- and was retweeted thousands of times by her followers back on Earth.

Space chat with astronaut Karen Nyberg
Learn how to wash your hair in space

CNN spoke to the mechanical engineering professor earlier this year, in a live broadcast from the International Space Station.

Watch the full interview here

As she returned to Earth this week, we again caught up with the American astronaut to chat about her fascinating experiments and adjusting to life back on the blue planet.

CNN: What was it like, taking a photograph like that and realizing the impact it might have on Earth as you looked out the window?

Karen Nyberg: It definitely makes you think, because it's so beautiful when you look out the window. I couldn't even fit the entire storm in one picture. I used a 50 millimeter lens to capture as much as I could, but just knowing the devastation underneath this beautiful cloud is pretty sad.

Karen Nyberg heads back to Earth after a five-month mission in space, November 10.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

CNN: You've also taken some other photographs which have been just as beautiful, and not caused such a devastating impact -- like sunrises over Earth.

KN: Yes, I love taking pictures and I enjoyed it more and more as the mission went on -- that's probably one of the things I'll miss the most. It was a great geography lesson for me too, to get these images from all over the world.

You see Earth a little differently -- in a strange way you feel closer to everybody
Karen Nyberg, NASA astronaut

CNN: Do you see the world in the same way, as before you went up as an astronaut?

KN: You actually do see it a little differently -- in a strange way you feel closer to everybody. I wish everybody could experience that.

CNN: What sort of experiments were you working on while you were up there?

KN: A lot of the experiments were being done on us -- looking at our eyesight and how that changes, and looking at our bone density and how that changes by the effects of micro gravity.

We also did a lot of experiments on fluids and combustion -- a lot of these are for developing systems to travel further into outer space, and a lot of them will really benefit what we're doing on Earth.

The Grand Canyon, as seen from space on October 19.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

CNN: A lot of astronauts apparently experience long-term vision problems after returning to Earth -- is that something that's happened to you, and do you know what causes it?

KN: I had some vision changes during my stay on the space station, but it's coming back to normal again -- I think that's happened frequently to other astronauts. I haven't experienced long-term changes but we have done quite intensive studies on me and my crew mates.

CNN: What are other changes you've noticed since coming back to Earth?

Dusk settles on the Himilayas, November 4.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

KN: It seems like I never left in a lot of ways -- it's almost a time warp. You get back to home and work, and it's like you were never away. I think I'll need to go back and look at my pictures pretty soon and reminisce.

To see more of Karen Nyberg's photographs from space, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook. Learn more about the history of women in space.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
In 2006 she sold her business to Estée Lauder in a reported multi-million dollar deal, five years later she started a brand new company.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
Some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs have come from women, though like so many inventors their names are lost in the pages of history.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
Leading Women hosted a Twitter Chat celebrating girls in science with guests including race car drivers, software developers and coders.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
There's a fine science to running a billion dollar company. Rosalind Brewer should know -- she used to study chemistry.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Join our twitter chat @CNNIwomen on October 9 at 5pm GMT/12pm EST and look for #CNNwomen #IDG14.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
STEM experts from Marissa Mayer to Weili Dai share their thoughts to celebrate International Day of the Girl.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)
When it comes to buildings, they don't come much different than a mosque and a nightclub.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen -- or so the saying goes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
These 12 fashion experts have millions of followers, but who is the most social woman in fashion?
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
Mindy Grossman has been the driving force behind making the Home Shopping Network both hip and profitable, but she still makes time for herself.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Nelly Ben Hayoun speaking at NASA Ames research center
Nelly Ben Hayoun is on a mission to convince the world to take threats such as asteroid strikes more seriously.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 0233 GMT (1033 HKT)
Shenan Chuang turned Ogilvy China into the world's third biggest ad agency, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout asks how she did it.
ADVERTISEMENT