The West

Perth a friendly sight from space
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman snapped a photo of the city from a rarely seen angle - 350km up. Picture: Reid Wiseman/Twitter

Cruising past Perth at 28,000km/h this week, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman snapped a photo of the city from a rarely seen angle - 350km up.

The image of a city famously recognised for its light-studded night sky by another American astronaut went around the world when Cdr Wiseman shared it on Twitter with his 55,000-plus followers.

"Goodnight to my friends in Perth, Australia," he tweeted from his vantage point in the International Space Station.

"I miss you all!"

It is unclear if Cdr Wiseman, whose strong social media following has drawn comparisons to Canadian spaceman Chris Hadfield, has Perth connections or was merely being friendly.

Reid Wiseman in his space suit

If the father of two from Maryland in the US has spent time in Perth, neither the State's International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research nor the country's top science agency, the CSIRO, knew about it when contacted by The Weekend West. NASA's offices in Washington and Houston were also in the dark.

Cdr Wiseman is the first astronaut since Cdr Hadfield to capture the public imagination with his stunning and quirky photography and irrepressible enthusiasm. Cdr Hadfield had a strong online presence during his five-month mission last year and his rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity was viewed more than 22 million times on YouTube.

Cdr Wiseman has not yet tried his hand at karaoke but he has offered an insight into life on the space station by posting selfies of himself working - and working out - as well as updates on how he is acclimatising to a zero-gravity environment.

Accompanying a photo of himself on a treadmill, the 38-year-old wrote of his "tingling" heels and the sensation of "food bouncing in stomach".

He also wrote about the return of his appetite - "a huge positive step in weightless adaptation" - and his occasional slip-ups.

"Still adjusting to zero g," he wrote. "Just flipped a bag upside down to dump out the contents. #doesntworkhere."

Cdr Wiseman will spend six months aboard the space station as a flight engineer, alongside Maxim Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, to perform scientific investigations and demonstrations.

Three other astronauts who have been on the space station since March are scheduled to return to Earth in September.

The West Australian

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