NASA mistakes Mount Everest for mountain in India

14 Dec 2012

The real Mount Everest. Image via Wikimedia Commons

A photo taken from space that NASA posted online is not of Mount Everest, but a mountain in India, the US space agency has admitted.

NASA had said that the photo snapped earlier this month by cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko from the International Space Station, 370 kilometres above the Earth, depicted the world’s tallest mountain.

Several media picked up the photo, which had also been spread on social network Twitter, but NASA took the image offline when an expert spotted the mistake.

“Sorry guys, but the tall peak with the shadow in the middle is not Mt Everest,” BBC News Online reported journalist Kunda Dixit, an authority on the Himalayas, as having tweeted.

A NASA spokesman told AFP in an email that the image is actually of Saser Muztagh, in the Karakoram Range of the Kashmir region of India.

Peaks in the Saser Muztagh stand more than 7,200 meters (23,622 feet), whereas Mount Everest, which straddles the border between Nepal and China, stretches 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) in elevation.

Mountains image

The photo taken by cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko from the International Space Station

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic