20 Breathtaking Images From NASA’s Public Library

© NASA

Back in 2017, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) opened the digital doors to its image and video library website, allowing the public to access more than 140,000 images, videos, and audio files. The collection provides unprecedented views of space.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Moon landing, interest in what exists beyond our planet and solar system has reached a fever pitch and NASA is feeding public curiosity about its research and missions.

While work on robotic and human spaceflight already existed, a quick entry into the Space Race against the Soviet Union was deemed critical as they were way ahead of the US at the time. NASA officially began operations on Oct. 1, 1958, as the primary organization for U.S. civil aerospace research and development. In just 11 years, NASA landed the first human on the moon in 1969.

In the 1970s, the focus shifted to developing a space station. Skylab was launched, unmanned, in May 1973. Three crewed missions followed during the next seven months to repair the station and conduct experiments. The first international space station partnership was the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, which brought American and Soviet crews together for the first time.

The space shuttle program became fully realized in April 1981 with the manned launch of the Columbia. In the 135 missions flown using five shuttles, there were sadly two catastrophic accidents – Challenger and Columbia both witnessed by a global audience on live TV. The Challenger incident would delay the planned 1986 delivery of the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit by the Space Shuttle Discovery. That mission would eventually take place successfully on April 24, 1990. The 30-year shuttle program was significant in building a foundation for future Earth-to-orbit transportation and sustained space stays.

Shuttle technology led to the construction of the International Space Station, the largest structure humans have put into space. Two hundred thirty people from 18 countries have lived there since 2000, conducting experiments and documenting life in space and its subsequent effects on the human body and psyche.

Achievements like these make up the substance of the NASA Image and Video Library, featuring the best of the agency’s work in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight, and more.

Updated in 2019, the library is searchable, includes historical and current images; and all assets are downloadable. Stacker combed through this abundant collection reveal the 20 of the most breathtaking images.

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3 Comments

  1. Noralee says

    Absolutely stunning.

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