An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) photographed this iconic landscape while orbiting over Australia’s aptly-named “red center.” Seen from ground level, this majestic sandstone rock formation stands 348 meters (1,120 feet) tall and is 3 kilometers (1.85 miles) long. Uluru is the ancient name used by Indigenous Australians; Ayers Rock is the name that was given to the landform by explorer William Christie Gosse in the 1800s.
Uluru is one of Australia’s major tourist attractions (more than 270,000 visitors in 2014), with operations run by people from the small town of Mutitjulu. A 16-kilometer (10-mile) road circles the rock, and a disused airstrip lies near the town. Darker greens indicate swaths of vegetation that thrive because of the many natural springs along the footslopes of the rock. Farther away, desert scrub vegetation on the drier soils of the linear sand dunes has browner tone