‘Vita’ stands for Vitality, Innovation, Technology, and Ability and was chosen by Italy’s ASI space agency, which is providing the mission through a barter agreement with NASA. Vita’s extensive scientific programme includes experiments in biology, human physiology as well as space environment monitoring, materials science and technology demonstrations.

Photos taken by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli was used to create this time-lapse of the Earth from California to Mexico as seen from the ISS. ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli in currently working and living on board the International Space Station as part of the Italian Space Agency’s long-duration VITA mission.