Astronaut Thought He Photographed Mt. Fuji, But it Was Actually a Tool Bag

Floating toolbag
Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa took this photo of the errant tool bag as he was trying to take a shot of Mount Fuji while onboard the ISS. |

A SpaceX Crew 7 astronaut revealed how he attempted to photograph Japan’s Mount Fuji but ended up taking a picture of a notorious piece of space junk instead.

In November, NASA astronauts accidentally dropped their toolbox during a spacewalk while carrying out maintenance work outside the International Space Station (ISS).

The satchel-sized tool bag floated away and is now orbiting Earth. The orbital toolbox has now been classified as space junk and photographers on Earth may even be able to capture the errant object on camera.

However, SpaceX Crew 7 astronaut Satoshi Furukawa of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) made the mistake of accidentally photographing the space junk thinking that he was taking an off-earth picture of Mount Fuji.

Mount Fuji is an active volcano near Tokyo and Japan’s tallest peak at 12,388 feet (3,776 meters).

‘He Ended Up With a Photo of a Tool Bag’

According to a report on, SpaceX Crew 7 astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA and Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA) recounted Furukawa’s amusing photography gaffe during their first post-landing news conference about their 197-day stay aboard the ISS.

“We were in Node 1, I think, having lunch or dinner, and Satoshi had been out in the Cupola taking pictures,” Mogensen recalls during the news conference at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Monday.

“He comes in and he’s like, ‘Well, you know, I’m very, very, very sorry. But you know, I took this picture.’ And we were all thinking, ‘What’s going on?’

“He had managed to take a picture of the tool bag as it was transiting Mount Fuji.

“He had been trying to take a picture of Mount Fuji and ended up with a picture of the tool bag.”

The Challenges of Taking Photos in Space

However, Mogensen explained that accidentally taking a photo of the tool bag was an error that any astronaut could have made aboard the ISS. He said that it was extremely difficult to shoot a specific spot on Earth from space.

“I found one of the big challenges was trying to take a photo of a spot [on Earth] that you want to photograph, and you try to time it out, you try to plan your day, and then you make your way to the Cupola or one of the other windows and you get set, you get ready and then it’s just a little bit cloudy,” Mogensen says.

“Even if it’s not cloudy, maybe it’s a little bit misty or the air isn’t quite as clear, and then you don’t get a good photo.

“So it’s actually quite challenging if you’re trying to capture a specific target.”