From “Earthrise” to astronaut selfies, space photography has shaped the way we see our home planet, life in space, and our solar system.
Thanks to space photography, we can all tag along on missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond! From snapping photos in orbit above our world to capturing images on another, photography has been, and will continue to be, a vital tool for human space exploration.
Test out your knowledge on space photography – past, present, and future – with today’s pop quiz!
Who snapped the famous Earthrise image taken during the Apollo 8 mission to the Moon?
On Christmas Eve in 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 made history by becoming the first men to orbit the Moon. One of the highlights of the mission was a photo snapped by NASA astronaut William Anders in which the Earth could be seen rising above the lunar surface. The photo, which captivated the world, came to be called "Earthrise," and it remains one of NASA's most iconic images.
Who captured the first image of a spacecraft in orbit?
According to NASA, Ed White snapped the first image of a spacecraft in orbit during the Gemini 4 mission. That wasn't the only first either. During that flight, White also became the first American astronaut to spacewalk!
Who claimed to have snapped the first space selfie?
NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin claimed to have snapped the first space selfie during his Gemini 12 mission. He tweeted the fun fact in 2014.
How many cameras is the Perseverance rover on Mars equipped with?
In total, the Mars 2020 mission sent 25 cameras to the red planet, 19 of which are on the Perseverance rover. According to NASA, this is the most to be flown for any planetary mission!
What is the name of the new orbital observatory launching this month?
On Dec. 22, the James Webb Space Telescope will launch into space and within six months, should be operational. This Hubble successor is an orbital observatory like none before. It is equipped with a larger primary mirror than Hubble (the largest of any space telescope) and will be used to discover clues about the formation of our universe and the evolution of our solar system.
What year was the first photo captured from space?
American scientists and researchers captured the very first images from space on Oct. 24, 1946, when they launched a V-2 missile equipped with a 35-millimeter motion picture camera. The film survived reentry in a steel cassette, giving scientists a first look at the Earth from space.
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