The Most Beautiful Space Images From NASA

They are out of this world.

January 10, 2018 5:00 am

NASA was created in 1958 during the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Since then, 833 total crew members have gone to space on 135 space shuttle missions. Decades later, sixteen countries were involved in the creation of the International Space Station, which was completed in Nov. 1998.

Though we know more about space than ever before, there is still so much to learn. Photographs taken by astronauts, telescopes and other spacecraft provide some insight to the stunning views and discoveries that most of us will never experience firsthand. Take a look at some of the pictures below, courtesy of NASA’s Image of the Day page.

This photograph of the Lunar Module at Tranquility Base was taken by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission, from the rim of Little West Crater on the lunar surface. Armstrong’s shadow and the shadow of the camera are visible in the foreground. This is the furthest distance from the lunar module traveled by either astronaut while on the moon. (NASA)
Due to its unique evolutionary status, Cassiopeia A (Cas A) is one of the most intensely studied of these supernova remnants. (NASA)
Just before the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2015, U.S. astronaut and commander of the current Expedition 45 crew, Scott Kelly, is breaking spaceflight records. On Friday, Oct. 16, Kelly begins his 383rd day living in space, surpassing U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke’s record. (NASA) It was spring in the Northern hemisphere when this image was taken on May 21, 2017, by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Over the winter, snow and ice have inexorably covered the dunes. Unlike on Earth, this snow and ice is carbon dioxide, better known to us as dry ice. (NASA) An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of the city lights of Naples and the Campania region of southern Italy. (NASA)
This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This stormy scene shows a stellar nursery known as N159, an HII region over 150 light-years across. N159 contains many hot young stars. These stars are emitting intense ultraviolet light, which causes nearby hydrogen gas to glow, and torrential stellar winds, which are carving out ridges, arcs, and filaments from the surrounding material. At the heart of this cosmic cloud lies the Papillon Nebula, a butterfly-shaped region of nebulosity. This small, dense object is classified as a High-Excitation Blob, and is thought to be tightly linked to the early stages of massive star formation. N159 is located over 160 000 light-years away. It resides just south of the Tarantula Nebula (heic1402), another massive star-forming complex within the LMC. It was previously imaged by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, which also resolved the Papillon Nebula for the first time. (NASA)
ESA/Hubble & NASA
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson along with Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough successfully installed three new adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries on the International Space Station during last week’s spacewalk. (NASA)
Impact craters expose the subsurface materials on the steep slopes of Mars. However, these slopes often experience rockfalls and debris avalanches that keep the surface clean of dust, revealing a variety of hues, like in this enhanced-color image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, representing different rock types. (NASA)
This false-color photograph is a composite of 15 images of the Moon taken through three color filters by the Galileo spacecraft’s solid-state imaging system during the spacecraft’s passage through the Earth-Moon system on December 8, 1992. When this view was obtained, the spacecraft was 425,000 kilometers (262,000 miles) from the Moon and 69,000 kilometers (43,000 miles) from Earth. The false-color processing used to create this lunar image is helpful for interpreting the surface soil composition. Areas appearing red generally correspond to the lunar highlands, while blue to orange shades indicate the ancient volcanic lava flow of a mare, or lunar sea. Bluer mare areas contain more titanium than do the orange regions. Mare Tranquillitatis, seen as a deep blue patch on the right, is richer in titanium than mare Serenitatis, a slightly smaller circular area immediately adjacent to the upper left o Mare Tranquillitatis. Blue and orange areas covering much of the left side of the Moon in this view represent many separate lava flows in Oceanus Procellarum. The small purple areas found near the center are pyroclastic deposits formed by explosive volcanic eruptions. The fresh crater Tycho, with a diameter of 85 kilometers (53 miles), is prominent at the bottom of the photograph, where part of the moon disk is missing. (NASA)
NASA/ Jet Propulsion Laboratory
The Calabash Nebula, pictured here — which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 — is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the Sun. This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the star going through a rapid transformation from a red giant to a planetary nebula, during which it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space. The recently ejected material is spat out in opposite directions with immense speed — the gas shown in yellow is moving close to a million kilometres an hour. Astronomers rarely capture a star in this phase of its evolution because it occurs within the blink of an eye — in astronomical terms. Over the next thousand years the nebula is expected to evolve into a fully fledged planetary nebula. The nebula is also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula because it contains a lot of sulfur, an element that, when combined with other elements, smells like a rotten egg — but luckily, it resides over 5000 light-years away in the constellation of Puppis (The Poop Deck). (NASA)
ESA/Hubble & NASA Acknowledgem
On Feb. 5, 1974, NASA’s Mariner 10 mission took this first close-up photo of Venus. Made using an ultraviolet filter in its imaging system, the photo has been color-enhanced to bring out Venus’s cloudy atmosphere as the human eye would see it. Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA is seen inside the International Space Station in his spacesuit during a fit check, in preparation for a spacewalk on Friday, May 12, 2017. This will be the 200th spacewalk at the station for assembly and maintenance, the ninth spacewalk for NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and the first for Fischer. (NASA)
On Oct. 12-13, 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared a series of seventeen photographs taken from the International Space Station during a flyover of Australia. This first photo of the series was shared on Twitter with the caption, “#EarthArt in one pass over the #Australian continent. Picture 1 of 17. #YearInSpace”.
This striking Jovian vista was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. (NASA)

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