Here’s what Austin looked like from space nearly 50 years ago

In 1969, NASA sent Apollo 9 to travel the dark unknown and survey the moon’s orbit. But like anyone who’s ended up in an impressive location and taken a selfie, those in charge couldn’t resist snapping a few shots of Earth from above.

The Austin skyline from the 23rd floor of the Skyhouse Apartments on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Austin skyline from the 23rd floor of the Skyhouse Apartments on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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This NASA image captures a view of Central Texas in 1969 — though to be honest, we wouldn’t have been able to differentiate this from a shot of China.

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Photo via NASA

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According to NASA’s description of the photo, I-35 starts in Austin at the right, center edge and travels to Waco near the bottom left corner. Here’s the rest of the description:

“Also visible are the cities of Georgetown, Taylor, Temple and Killeen. The Colorado River runs through Austin. The Brazos River flows through Waco. Lake Travis is upstream from Austin. Lake Whitney is at bottom left corner of picture. The Belton Reservoir is near bottom center. The lake formed by the dam on the Lampasas River near Belton is also clearly visible.”

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Let’s also take a moment to marvel at how far astronomers have come in the last 47 years. It was just announced this week that University of Texas scientist Michael Endl located a new planet orbiting the closest star to Earth’s sun. What’s even more wild than a new planet? It could potentially be another Earth.

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