Man-made archipelagos near Dubai, United Arab Emirates are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member on the International Space Station. The municipality of Dubai is the largest city of the Persian Gulf emirate of the same name, and has built a global reputation for large-scale developments and architectural works. Among the most visible of these developments — particularly from the perspective of astronauts onboard the ISS — are three man-made archipelagos. The two Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali) appear as stylized palm trees when viewed from above. The World Islands evoke a rough map of the world from an air- or space-borne perspective. Palm Jumeirah and the World Islands are highlighted in this view. Palm Jumeirah (lower left) was begun in 2001 and required more than 50 million cubic meters of dredged sand to raise the islands above the Persian Gulf sea level. Construction of the Palm Jumeirah islands was completed in 2006; they are now being developed for residential and commercial housing and infrastructure. Creation of the 300 World Islands (upper right) was begun in 2003 and completed in 2008, using 320 million cubic meters of sand and 37 million tons of rock for the surrounding 27 kilometer-long protective breakwater. Also visible at the lower edge of the image is another notable built structure — the Burj Tower (white rectangle at lower right and inset image). The Burj Tower — or Burj Khalifa — stands 800 meters high, and is currently the world’s tallest structure. The photograph captures enough detail to make out the tapering outline of the building as well as its dark needle-like shadow pointing towards the northeast.
Image/caption credit: NASA
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