February 1, 2010—Two sets of human-made islands lie off the coast of Dubai in a new astronaut's-eye view of the United Arab Emirates metropolis.

The Palm Jumeirah (left) required more than 1.7 billion cubic feet (50 million cubic meters) of dredged sand to create the palm tree-shaped island. The 300 islands that make up "the World" meanwhile, required 11.3 billion cubic feet (320 million cubic meters) of sand, along with 37 million tons of rock for the surrounding 16.7-mile-long (27-kilometer-long) breakwater.

The recently released snapshot, taken from aboard the International Space Station, also caught the spiky shadow of the world's tallest building, the 2,600-foot-high (800-meter-high) Burj Khalifa, near the lower right edge of the frame.

Photograph courtesy Johnson Space Center via NASA Earth Observatory

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Encyclopedic entry. An archipelago is a group of islands closely scattered in a body of water. Usually, this body of water is the ocean, but it can also be a lake or river.