Pueblo Chemical Depot Colorado
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Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado

November 3, 2008
This astronaut photograph illustrates the unusual man-made landscape of the Pueblo Chemical Depot located near the city of Pueblo, Colorado. The depot was built during World War II by the U.S. Army to house and ship ammunition needed for war efforts, and this role transitioned to missile repair and maintenance during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The current use of the depot is to house chemical munitions, but changes are underway by the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency to destroy these munitions and make the site environmentally safe for reuse.

The stippled pattern on the landscape is due to hundreds of concrete and earth-covered storage “igloos” that form ordered rows across the site (image top). These igloos are where chemical munitions and other materials are secured. Larger, white-roofed maintenance buildings once used for munitions storage were built with separate compartments to minimize potential damage from explosions. Other features visible in this detailed image include roads (light tan lines) and rail lines (dark brown), water impoundments (black, irregular shapes), and various office and industrial buildings (rectangular shapes at image lower left.)

Astronaut photograph ISS017-E-18075 was acquired on October 1, 2008, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera fitted with an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 17 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.

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