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June 8, 2011
This photo taken from the aft flight deck of the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Discovery features Cape Cod, an easily recognizable hook-shaped peninsula in southeastern Massachusetts. Sandy and of glacial origin, it extends 65 miles (105 km) into the Atlantic Ocean, has a varying breadth of 1 to 20 miles (1.6-32 km), and is bounded by Cape Cod Bay (north and west), Buzzards Bay (west), and Vineyard and Nantucket sounds (south). The northern hook of the cape (embracing a recreation area of dunes, marshes, lakes, and pinewoods) was designated the Cape Cod National Seashore (area 68 square miles [176 square km]) in 1961. The Cape Cod Canal cuts across the base of the peninsula shortening the shipping distance between New York City and Boston by more than 75 miles (120 km) and forms part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Cape Cod was named by Bartholomew Gosnold, an English explorer who visited its shores in 1602 and took aboard a "great store of codfish." In 1620 the Pilgrims landed at the site of Provincetown, on the hooked tip of Cape Cod, before proceeding to Plymouth.

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