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Spectacular timelapse shows the International Space Station at work

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst used his 166 days aboard the International Space Station to build an enormous high-resolution time lapse sequence featuring more than 12,000 photos of the planet, the atmosphere and the systems on the station.

As Discovery.com points out, the video shows much more than just the earth–it gives a glimpse of how the station itself operates every day:

Solar panels rotate to catch the most sun and keep all systems up and running. At the 1:35 mark, a robotic arm extends to pluck a Cygnus spacecraft — one of the commercial spacecraft that help supply the ISS — out of, well, space. After collecting its payload, the same arm releases it on its homeward journey at the 4:50 mark. It truly looks like science fiction.

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