Cameras aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are providing a birds-eye view of Hurricane Ian as it churns northward toward Florida.
The storm looks gigantic in video captured Monday (Sept. 26) by cameras mounted to the exterior of the ISS, which flies about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth. And Hurricane Ian is starting to deliver on that threatening visual; it was expected to bring powerful winds and a life-threatening storm surge to western Cuba on Monday evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The latest models predict that Ian will head north from there, pounding much of Florida’s Gulf Coast over the next few days.
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“Heavy rainfall will increase across the Florida Keys and South Florida Tuesday, spreading to central and northern Florida Wednesday and Thursday, potentially causing flash, urban and small stream flooding,” the NHC wrote in an update Monday (opens in new tab). “Significant prolonged river flooding is likely across central Florida.”
Florida’s Atlantic coast could get lashed by strong winds and heavy rains as well. Indeed, that possibility impelled NASA to roll its Artemis 1 moon rocket off Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center back to the protection of the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building on Monday night.
The rollback, which began at about 11:20 p.m. EDT (0320 GMT on Tuesday, Sept. 27), is expected to take about 11 hours.
Artemis 1 will use a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to send an uncrewed Orion capsule to the moon and back. As its name suggests, the mission will be the first in NASA’s Artemis program of lunar exploration.
NASA originally tried to launch Artemis 1 on Aug. 29 but was foiled by a technical glitch. A leak of liquid hydrogen propellant scuttled another attempt on Sept. 3. Mission team members fixed the leak and had been gearing up for a Tuesday attempt before Ian began brewing in the Caribbean. It’s too soon to speculate about a new possible launch date for the mission.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).