International

North Korea's Still In The Dark, As Photos From Space Show

At Night, North Korea Disappears

Photos from space show that at night, North Korea is a huge, almost completely dark patch between its two prosperous neighbors, South Korea and China.

  • This image was taken on Jan. 30 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. North Korea is the large dark patch in the middle. The only significant light is from its capital, Pyongyang. The next photo adds reference points.
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    This image was taken on Jan. 30 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. North Korea is the large dark patch in the middle. The only significant light is from its capital, Pyongyang. The next photo adds reference points.
    NASA.gov
  • The same image of North Korea and its neighbors at night, with reference points added.
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    The same image of North Korea and its neighbors at night, with reference points added.
    NASA.gov
  • A 2002 satellite image of the Korean peninsula and neighboring lands and seas. North Korea's borders are outlined in white.
    Hide caption
    A 2002 satellite image of the Korean peninsula and neighboring lands and seas. North Korea's borders are outlined in white.
    NASA via Afrikent

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Pictures really do tell the story about how far behind economically North Korea is compared with its neighbors.

In 2002, as Eyder has said, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a satellite photo to illustrate how in-the-dark the communist nation was.

Twelve years later, a new photo taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station shows that, if anything, the differences are even more stark. As NASA says:

"North Korea is almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea and China. The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Its capital city, Pyongyang, appears like a small island, despite a population of 3.26 million (as of 2008). The light emission from Pyongyang is equivalent to the smaller towns in South Korea."

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