Earth glows like a jewel in these gorgeous photos from China’s space station

Lights sparkle below in this sweeping view of Earth, space and stars taken from the Tianhe module of China’s space station.

Tang Hongbo/China Manned Space Agency

It’s been a busy year for China in space. The country has landed a rover on Mars, launched a key module of a new space station into orbit and sent astronauts up for a visit. Those astronauts — known as taikonauts — have now gifted us with some seriously stunning views from above.

Taikonauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo are currently on their way back to Earth after a three-month stay. The China Manned Space Agency has released a series of photos over the last few weeks showing what Earth looks like from the station’s windows. 

Tianhe is the core module of the station, which is coming along in its 18-month construction schedule. The station is expected to be completed by late 2022. 

The Tianhe module’s solar array makes a cameo appearance in this view over Earth that shows part of South Africa.

Tang Hongbo/China Manned Space Agency

The views out the window are spectacular, but we also got a photo that includes a Tianhe window, which looks a lot like a porthole on a ship.

This porthole-like window gives China’s taikonauts a view of the planet below.

Tang Hongbo/China Manned Space Agency

Hongbo shared a look at his bedroom on board Tianhe, which helps to put the size of the window into perspective. Notice how the bed can be closed up like a sleeping bag. That’s so the taikonauts can stay put and not float off in microgravity while they’re snoozing.

Taikonaut Tang Hongbo snapped this view of his bedroom on board the Tianhe core module of China’s space station.

Tang Hongbo/China Manned Space Agency

The core module is home base in space for the taikonauts. It will get an expansion with the eventual addition of two more modules designed to host research and experiments.

Between China’s space station, the International Space Station and now SpaceX’s all-private Inspiration4 mission, we’re experiencing a welcome outpouring of outstanding photography from orbit. Keep it coming, astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts!

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