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
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT)
Jane Fraser is often cited as one of the most powerful women in banking. She tells CNN's Poppy Harlow how women lead differently.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 1743 GMT (0143 HKT)
Women's-only private members clubs are becoming more popular, offering spaces to work, socialize and relax, albeit with hefty membership fees.
November 28, 2014 -- Updated 1515 GMT (2315 HKT)
A new social network for women claims to be 'troll-proof' and was created by Karen Cahn, former Google, YouTube, Aol executive.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
She's the daughter of a Beatle and counts Kate Moss among her friends, but she had to create her own mark in the fashion world.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1743 GMT (0143 HKT)
Alli Webb always loved having her hair done, so she decided to bring that happy feeling to millions of women worldwide with her business, Drybar.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
NASA's chief scientist Dr Ellen Stofan wants to land humans on Mars by 2035, but there are some serious challenges to overcome before then.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1041 GMT (1841 HKT)
The Design Museum hosts a power dressing exhibition, from Joan of Arc's short tunics, to Joan Collins' eye-gouging shoulder pads.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
Opinion piece from architect Zaha Hadid on growing up in a very different Iraq, to close Leading Women's month of STEM coverage.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
Leading Women ran an iReport assignment which resulted in some amazing images of girls in STEM from our readers.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
Robots can be many things -- knowledgeable, dexterous, strong. But can they ever be genuinely laugh-out-loud hilarious?
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1830 GMT (0230 HKT)
Victoria Beckham has come a long way from Posh Spice. She has now been named Britain's top entrepreneur, by magazine Management Today.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1447 GMT (2247 HKT)
Just one in seven engineers are female. STEM experts share their ideas on how to get more girls into the industry.
ADVERTISEMENT