MIR was -- during its time in orbit -- the largest satellite orbiting our planet and the only space station capable of supporting human life.
It was to all intents and purposes a triumph of human achievement. Despite all this, it was tiny, and no picture captures the immensity of our planet than this photo which shows the now-extinct space station orbiting Earth.
The photo isn't new, however it was re-discovered by the Sploid blog on Gizmodo. It is a stark and beautiful reminder that sometimes it's easy to lose perspective of just how small these satellites are, even the International Space Station which measures in at over the size of a football field.
Taken by the space shuttle Atlantis, it appears to show the station completely alone, despite the vast number of satellites that were already orbiting our planet at the time.
MIR was decommissioned in 2001 after spending over 14 years in space. Having been abandoned in 1996, plans were made to force the station into reentry where it eventually broke up over the Pacific ocean.