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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

(NASA Crew Earth Observations)


















"We catch a glimpse of a huge swirl of clouds out the window over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or the boot of Italy jutting down into the Mediterranean, or the brilliant blue coral reefs of the Caribbean strutting their beauty before the stars. And...we experienced those uniquely human qualities: awe, curiosity, wonder, joy, amazement." (Russell L. Schweickart, Apollo Astronaut ("The Home Planet")






Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Frequently Asked Questions About Astronaut-Acquired Photographs

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Questions about access to photographs:
How many photographs have been taken?
How do I see some examples of the photographs with information on the locations pictured?
How can I do a thorough search of the entire database of photographs?
How can I get my own copies of astronaut photographs?
Do I need special permission to use astronaut photographs or to publish them?
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How many photographs have been taken?
Astronaut photography began with the first manned space flights in 1961. As of February 2000 the database contained over 380,000 images. A link to a detailed and up-to-date tally of the number of photographs by scale, cloud cover, and other aspects of interest to technical users is here.

How do I see some examples of the photographs with information on the locations pictured?
The Earth from Space website features a selection of hundreds of photographs taken by astronauts from the Space Shuttle. It includes a clickable map, and searches by geographic name and subject. Images have north arrows and captions and can be downloaded in low or high resolution.

How can I do a thorough search of the entire database of photographs?
A comprehensive Technical Search engine that includes background information on all 550,000+ astronaut photographs since 1969 is now available. A number of search methods are available to suit searching needs with different levels of complexity.

To get a current update on the number of photographs taken and some of their characteristics, try our Summary of Database Contents.

How can I get my own copies of astronaut photographs?
There are several methods. As new methods become available, this answer will be updated.

a. Download high resolution images from the Earth from Space website and print them yourself. Many local commercial copy centers now have the capability to print photo-quality prints from high-resolution digital files.

b. Order prints, slides and transparencies from one of NASA's commercial vendors.

Do I need special permission to use astronaut photographs or to publish them?
NASA asserts no copyright over these photographs, but requests that it be credited as the source of the information. We recommend that the caption for any photograph published include the unique photo number (Mission-Roll-Frame), so that others can locate or obtain copies when needed.
Example image with Mission-Roll-Frame information >>
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