After 18 years, 47 expeditions, and over 100,000 rotations, astronauts aboard the International Space Station have captured some of the most awe-inspiring images of the Earth and space. Here are some of our favorites.
All International Space Station images below are courtesy of NASA.
#1 – On September 5, 2012 during Expedition 32, Astronaut Aki Hoshide of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency takes a selfie on a six and a half hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station. You can see the Earth and the station in the reflection of Hoshide’s helmet.
#2 – The International Space Station experiences 16 sunrises in each 24-hour period. Here’s an image taken by astronaut Scott Kelly of one of these sunrises during the 44th expedition.
#3 – On March 28, 2016 Flight Engineer Tim Peak of the ESA photographed this stunning image of the setting moon from the International Space Station during Expedition 47. This level of detail captured of the moon’s surface was accomplished using a hand-held camera. This is something you can only do from the ISS.
#4 – This image was taken by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams on March 29, 2016 from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station. It depicts the breadth of colors that make up the northwestern Australian coast.
#5 – The Northern Lights aren’t the only aurora you can see from the International Space Station. This amazing image displays what is known as the Aurora Australis – or the Southern Lights – and was captured by NASA astronaut Joe Acaba on July 15, 2012.
#6 – This beautiful photograph was taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station on August 9, 2015 during Expedition 44. This image captures the Milky Way galaxy over the Pacific Ocean. A bolt of lightning flashes below within the Earth’s atmosphere and is even reflected off of the International Space Station’s solar arrays.
#7 – The first flower ever grown in space bloomed for astronaut Scott Kelly after he noticed that this zinnia plant in the International Space Station’s Veggie plant growth system was withering. He made a judgement call and broke from the procedural manual, suggesting that the watering procedures be left up to the astronauts aboard the station. Soon after they changed methods, the plants became healthy and bloomed, as seen here.