Italian space explorer Sam Cristoforetti shared some jaw-dropping photos on Twitter of Typhoon Maysak on Tuesday as seen from her vantage point on the International Space Station. The badass pics instantly went viral racking up thousands of retweets and favorites on the social media platform.
“Commands respect even from #space,” Cristoforetti wrote on Twitter after the space station flew over the magnificent force of nature. Her photos show several perspectives of Maysak’s dramatic, well-defined eye.
— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) March 31, 2015
Cristoforetti, 37, is a total badass. She’s a mechanical engineer, a highly-decorated captain in the Italian Air Force ,where she’s logged more than 500 hours in the air piloting all sorts of fighter jets, and she joined the European Space Agency in 2009, according to the ESA website, becoming Italy’s first female astronaut.
She has been living aboard the ISS since last November when she was launched by rocket from Kazakhstan. The occasion was historic as Cristoforetti became the first Italian woman in history to travel into outer space. She’s working as a flight engineer for Expeditions 42 and 43 on the ISS.
The super typhoon, said to be unusually strong for this time of year, is barreling across the western Pacific Ocean. Forecasters say the category five storm could slam the Philippines sometime this weekend.
Weather historians point out that the storm is unprecedented on a number of fronts, particularly with its incredible maximum sustained wind speeds of 160 mph, the Washington Post reports. No Pacific typhoon has ever recorded such powerful winds before April 1.
In addition to her work in orbit, Cristoforetti has amassed a loyal following on Twitter thanks to her prolific sharing of breathtaking photos of earth snapped from her perch on the space station. To view high-res images of Maysak and her other shots from space, visit her Flickr page here.
Cristoforetti is scheduled to return to earth in May.