Astronaut Luca Parmitano captured from ISS the artistic sand shapes of Sahara Desert in Mauritania.
Approximately 90% of Mauritania’s land is within the Sahara Desert and semidesert. As a result of extended, severe drought, the desert has been expanding since the mid-1960s. The population is concentrated in the south, where precipitation is slightly higher. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast, which is home to around one-third of the country’s 4 million people. The country’s official religion is Islam, with almost the entire population being Sunni Muslims. Arabic is the official language, with French also widely used due to its colonial history. Despite an abundance of natural resources, Mauritania remains poor. The country’s economy is based on agriculture and livestock, and major industries include mining (particularly iron ore), petroleum, and fishing.
The local scenery on the ground is as follows.