Astronauts see widespread ecological destruction from space

Environmental damage on Earth is clearly visible from space, reports the crew of the shuttle Discovery. Chatting from an orbit of 220 miles up with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and other Japanese officials, Commander Eileen Collins said on Thursday that the astronauts could see widespread erosion and deforestation below. She described the Earth’s atmosphere as “an eggshell on an egg, it’s so very thin,” and suggested folks could maybe get a little more serious about saving the planet. “We would like to see, from the astronauts’ point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used,” she said. Koizumi, said to be distracted by a fierce political battle over privatizing Japan’s postal system, asked Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi about … space noodles. Specifically, noodles prepared in a jellified soup especially for slurping in zero gravity. Reports indicate that the astro-pasta was delicious — even if the view left a disturbing aftertaste.