A NASA astronaut has today tweeted out a picture of Mt Taranaki as seen from the International Space Station.

Thomas H. Marshburn, who has just over 12,000 followers on Twitter, sent a message at about 12:45pm New Zealand time.

"More volcano-spotting! Mt. Taranaki on New Zealand's North Island served as the backdrop in the movie The Last Samurai," he said.

The photo shows a clear view of the 2518-metre-high mountain, with the Taranaki coastline seen to the west.


Mt Taranaki is known as one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world and, because of its resemblance to Mount Fuji, was used at the backdrop for The Last Samurai.

Marshburn is one of three astronauts who blasted off in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan on December 19.

Watch a video of the launch here.

The Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft docked at the International Space Station after a two-day flight.

Marshburn, whose Twitter handle is @AstroMarshburn, has since posted images of the Red Sea's "glorious" shoreline, the Gobi Desert and another volcano on Kyushu Island in Japan.

He is part of a six-man crew on-board the station, carrying out scientific research and maintenance work.

Marshburn's NASA profile says he enjoys backpacking and mountain climbing, and in 1980 backpacked all the way from Canada to Mexico.

Another astronaut on the Space Station, Canadian Chris Hadfield, has also been tweeting stunning photos of Earth from space, and answering questions from followers about the mission.