That's the external fuel tank from a 1989 space shuttle mission, a picture my brother-in-law Dan happened across while we were discussing shuttle history (and he was correcting my memory on a couple of fine points, such as the fact the first during the first four missions, the shuttle was equipped with ejection seats). The subject came up while we were remembering the Challenger disaster in 1986 (a subject another friend brought up on Facebook).
Anyway, I'm always a sucker for a good space program picture, and this is one. Not to over-romanticize, you could look at this and say it's simply part of a wasteful industrial process (the external tank is jettisoned and partially disintegrates as it falls through the atmosphere into the Atlantic). There's more to it, for me: a picture from an untamed place that holds unlimited promise, a picture of our civilization reaching to extend its understanding and its capabilities.
Sure, we have lots of problems here at home (that blue background–what a beautiful place). It's always seemed to me we ought to be able to extend our reach out there and do the work we need to do down here, too.
(End of the foregoing.)