Cirque du Soleil Founder Goes to Outer Space and Snaps Photos

© Guy Laliberté Canada, Ontario, James Bay Fort Albany 2009

What do you do next, after you have founded the world-famous Cirque du Soleil and made $2.5 billion? Go to the moon! And so he did.

Guy Laliberté was Canada's first space tourist, having spent spent 12 days aboard a Russian Soyuz in 2009. He paid $35M for the privilege but he also took some incredible photos of his holiday up there.

Now the 60 photos have been published as a book, GAIA, and some were on view at a Toronto art gallery so we can all have a look at them.

© Guy Laliberté China, Hotan region 2009

He took photos of 40 different countries over the eleven day period. The photos were taken from space, only 220 miles away. The Soyuz was moving at 17,500 miles per hour (about 5 miles per second), doing 6 tours of the earth every 24 hours. That means he went around the earth 176 times. For the photography buffs out there, the cameras that he was using were the Nikon D3S and Nikon D3X digital-SLR.

© Guy Laliberté Indian Ocean, Australia, west of Perth 2009

All of the money made from the venture will be used to fund his personal cause, the One Drop Foundation, which is dedicated to water conservation. Laliberte has put $250M of his own money into the charity which is dedicated "To play a role in changing and influencing how safe water is shared and made accessible around the world."

© Guy LaLiberte Algeria, in the northernmost region of the Sahara Desert 2009

The photographs show beautifully coloured skies, cities popping up, cracked earth and spectacular lights. Each is accompanied by a quotation.

© Guy Laliberté Mali, above Dianké 2009

He says that his favourite is "the last picture in the book, which is that little blue layer [between space and the dark Earth at sunrise]. This is a very specific moment, very difficult to achieve because it's a fraction of a second. So that one I was very happy."

Tags: Air Travel | Space | Toronto | Water Conservation | Water Crisis

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