Astronaut Scott Kelly Recalls Seeing ‘Shocking’ Level Of Pollution In India And China From Space

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2:27 pm 22 Oct, 2016

Renowned Astronaut Scott Kelly recently said that when you look at China and India from space, the level of pollution that one sees is “shocking”.

“Seeing places like China and India, and the pollution that exists there almost all the time is quite shocking.” – Scott Kelly, Astronaut

Kelly, who is a US Astronaut and has spent over a year in the space, was on October 21 briefing the media with US President Barack Obama at the White House when the statement was made.


He was in the Oval Office when spoke about “seeing China” for the first time in 2015. He said till then he had spent over a year in space and never seen its cities so clearly.

“There was one-day last summer, the summer of 2015, when I was in space I saw the eastern side of China was perfectly clear. And I’d never seen that before in all of my time in space, and I’d spent well over a year in space, total, at that point. I could see all these cities that are (there).”

He further added that it was around dusk when he witnessed this and found it quite shocking

“There’s like over 200 cities in that part of China, with over a million people. And it was at dusk, and I could just, for the very first time, I was able to see them, and it was quite shocking.”

It was only a day later that Kelly was able to understand why he had not been able to see that part of China till then.


A picture of India taken by Scott from space.Twitter- Scott Kely

A picture of India taken by Scott from space. Twitter- Scott Kely

“I didn’t really understand it until the next day I heard that the Chinese government had turned off a lot of the coal-producing power plants, stopped the cars from running in that part of the country for this national holiday, and the sky had completely cleared.”

He said that the experience made him realise how much negative impact humans have on the environment and added that it’s “very scary-looking” from space.

“So it’s interesting to see just how much of a negative impact we have on the environment, but also how quickly we can have a positive impact on it if we decide not to mention the atmosphere is very, very thin and scary-looking when you see it from space.”

Kelly was in the White House to meet President Obama, who described him as “an American hero” and said his long stay in space “allows us to start thinking about long-term manned space flight.”


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