This image from the European Space Agency’s land monitoring mission Sentinel2-A shows the Nile delta, illustrating graphically why the fertile strip has kept the Egyptian capital Cairo on the same spot for more than 1000 years.
Sentinel2-A has been in orbit since 23 June, and is a multispectral high-resolution imaging mission for land monitoring, to provide imagery of vegetation, soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas.
At 6650 kilometres, the Nile River is the longest river in the world. It rises south of the equator and flows northwards through northeastern Africa, draining into the Mediterranean Sea. It has allowed the Egyptians to thrive despite the arid surrounding desert.
The area is greener on the west side as the terrain is flatter, so more easily irrigated than the higher terrain to the east.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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