NASA’s Apollo Program was an audacious mission to send astronauts to the moon – a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy’s in a bold speech in 1961 that was an ongoing part of the Cold War. NASA’s use of photography aboard spacecraft originated during the Mercury Program when John Glenn carried two cameras during his Mercury-Atlas 6 program: 1) a Leica 1g for ultraviolet spectrascopic photos, and 2) a modified Ansco Autoset (which was a rebadged Minolta Hi-Matic by the Ansco Company) which took the first human-shot, color still photos.
Astronauts are undoubtedly skilled at operating some of the most advanced machines ever created by man. Heck, they can even shoot with Nikon d5s. But using an action camera in space? Well, that’s another story. Here’s a live stream clip from Wednesday showing a NASA astronaut asking Houston a vital question about his GoPro.
Short answer: Some Latex, A hat, cardboard and smoke. Hit the jump for the long answer. Be aware that it is mildly NSFW.
Back in 1971 Apollo 15 was the most successful manned flight ever achieved, according to NASA.
But the three astronauts aboard the spacecraft weren’t all about the science, as the video below shows. Two of the astronauts took turns to photograph each other on the moon, undoubtedly aware that they’d need epic Facebook profile photos 40 years down the line.
Watch the astronauts bounce around the moon as they captured these iconic images.
Astronaut Don Pettit has become one of the most prolific astronaut photographers during his expeditions aboard the International Space Station. He could (and did) saturate downlink transfers with photos for three full days from just one 30-minute photographic session in space. While photography is part of an astronaut’s job requirement, Pettit’s engineering ingenuity and natural curiosity has led him to create photos that are as stunning for their artistic beauty as they are for their scientific value.
For a lot of us, travelling to space and taking photographs sounds like a dream job. For Don Pettit, it’s just another day at the office. In fact, part of his official NASA training included working with a number of professional photographers and trainers. Of course, being an astronaut photographer isn’t just taking beautiful photos from outer space. Pettit said in an interview with SmugMug, there’s actually a lot of engineering photography to be done, which Pettit says is actually quite uninteresting to the public.
“We have to take macro images of pins in an electrical connector or a bit of grunge in a hydraulic quick-disconnect fitting or little patterns that might develop on the surface of one of the windows. These things need to be documented so the images can be downlinked for engineers on the ground to assess what’s happening to the systems on space station. We get training specifically on doing these engineering images, which, for the most part, are not really interesting to the public.
Photography on the space station is more than just taking a bunch of pretty pictures. We take pictures of Earth and the surroundings of earth, and these pictures represent a scientific data set recorded now for over 14 years. About 1.2 million pictures were taken as of July 2012.”
Let’s be real, space selfies are light years better than the average Instagram styled selfie. Photos taken of space from space are like the ultimate travel photos. It probably has something to do with the fact that some astronauts, like Buzz Aldrin, were orbiting earth at speeds of 17,000 mph and just casually snapped a selfie like what they’re doing is no big deal. As Aldrin explains in the interview below, he was supposed to be photographing ultraviolet stars, but when the sun rose and he could no longer see the stars, he turned the camera on himself because he was curious to see what it would like and, you know, why not?.
Listen as Aldrin tells the story behind pioneering the space selfie, then read on to see how you can take a space selfie of your own.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is launching a camera into space via a supply ferry, the Automated Transfer Vehicle 5 (ATV-5) which headed to the International Space Station. Launching cameras into space isn’t particularly rare in itself, but this camera is kinda special. The Automated Transfer Vehicle Break-Up Camera was designed in just nine short months by team members of the ESA specifically for this mission. The Break-Up Camera is a disposable infrared camera that will photograph the reentry of the ATV back into earth’s atmosphere where it is destined to burn up in a blaze of glory.[Read More…]