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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

Database Content Summary

This page provides an up-to-date summary of the number of photographs of Earth that have been taken by astronauts. Please note that we have a database of metadata about each image, and a set of digital images available online. Some older missions have not yet been digitized by NASA, so their counts are not included in the "All Images" section. Similarly, recent and current missions may have digital images online, but the accompanying metadata has not been uploaded, so their counts are not included in the "All Metadata" section. The information is tabulated to provide a standard way of describing the contents of the database that would be comparable between different applications and over the coming years. Statistics about specific subsets (e.g., number of photos of Namibia) can be compiled from the Search page.

Cameras used on the ISS and Shuttle missions >>

Date tabulated: 16 Sep. 2014
Number of missions in catalog: 195

UNIQUE RECORDS (Images Table and Frames Table) This total includes both photos that have images in our database and those that do not.
Total number of photographs taken by astronauts: 1,856,501


ALL IMAGES (Images Table) This total is based on counts of unique photo IDs (mission-roll-frame combinations) in the IMAGES table. Note that the IMAGES table can contain multiple images per photo ID. So the count below is of all of these per photo ID just once. This total includes only those photos that have images in our database.
Total number of images taken by astronauts: 1,714,746

Missions
    Total number of images taken from:
      International Space Station: 1,373,837
      Space Shuttle: 322,421
      Mir: 2,512
      Skylab: 4,591
      Apollo, Gemini & Mercury: 11,385


ALL METADATA (Frames Table)
Number of frames with all metadata complete: 676,340
Frames in process (metadata being assembled): 1,180,161


Special film types
    Number of frames that are color visible light: 359,421
    Number of frames that are color infrared: 42,262
    Number of frames that are black and white: 23,793
    Number of frames taken with ESC: 236,945
      Of These, number that are EarthKam: 3,335
Camera / Film formats
    Number of frames taken by Skylab Multispectral Photographic Camera: 33,285
    Number of frames taken by Skylab Earth Terrain Camera: 5,478
    Number of frames taken by Linhof: 29,557
    Number of frames taken by Hasselblad: 337,401
    Number of frames taken by 35 mm: 19,363
    Number of frames taken by Kodak digital camera: 138,410
    Number of frames taken by Nikon digital camera: 97,618
Number of frames with a tilt value or both a center point and a feature that suggests they are earth-looking: 615,687
    Of these, number of remaining frames with an entry for focal length: 591,274
      Of these, number of remaining frames with normal exposure: 228,256
        Of these, number of frames designated with HO tilt angle: 41,552
          Of these, subset taken with 40-89 mm lens: 13,398
          Of these, subset taken with 90-249 mm lens: 18,315
          Of these, subset taken with 250 + mm lens: 8,975
        Of these, number of frames designated with LO (or number < 56) or NV tilt angle: 180,006
          Of these, subset taken with 40-89 mm lens: 13,179
          Of these, subset taken with 90-249 mm lens: 66,286
          Of these, subset taken with 250 + mm lens: 100,041
FRAMES <= 25% cloud cover
Number of frames <= 25% cloud cover in catalog: 466,341
Number of these frames with a tilt value or both a center point and a feature that suggests they are earth-looking: 414,615
    Of these, number of remaining frames with an entry for focal length: 397,850
      Of these, number of remaining frames with normal exposure: 138,526
        Of these, number of frames designated with HO tilt angle: 18,006
          Of these, subset taken with 40-89 mm lens: 5,415
          Of these, subset taken with 90-249 mm lens: 7,728
          Of these, subset taken with 250 + mm lens: 4,329
        Of these, number of frames designated with LO (or number < 56) or NV tilt angle: 115,890
          Of these, subset taken with 40-89 mm lens: 6,884
          Of these, subset taken with 90-249 mm lens: 41,141
          Of these, subset taken with 250 + mm lens: 67,599
FRAMES >= 70% cloud cover
Number of frames >= 70% cloud cover in catalog: 88,259

SUNGLINT
Number of frames taken with a sun elevation between 42 and 57 degrees. 137,960