Space: The Big Picture

By Phil Plait | April 16, 2010 7:29 am

Magnificent: The Big Picture has a series of incredible pictures from the latest Soyuz and Shuttle missions to the International Space Station.

They are all amazing, but I think I like this one the best:

astro_soichi_cupola

I know, it’s not what you’d think I’d pick, is it? But it shows astronaut Soichi Noguchi in the station’s cupola, taking one of his astonishing photographs that he posts on Twitter. Looking at this picture of him, and thinking of his incredible photos, really brings home the fact that humans are in space right now, circling the Earth over your head.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Pretty pictures

Comments (26)

  1. Allen

    Every time I think about the US and Russia cooperating in our space flight endeavors (especially), I keep thinking, what people would’ve thought 50 years ago had they heard of this happening.

    Another thought that always occurs to me is that HOLY CRAP WE’RE IN SPACE. This is skirting the bounds of science fiction. I can’t help but be excited at what we’re doing, and the amazing discoveries we’re making.

  2. Cheyenne

    That’s definitely the best way to take pictures of the earth from space – A human with a hand held camera shooting through a smudgy window. One of these days we may be able to create “robots” and some kind of new fangled “satellite” that the kids are talking about – but them’s pipe dreams I tell ya.

  3. Hal

    I’d be the jerk yelling at everyone to stop putting greasy handprints all over the brand new windows.

  4. R2K

    I like how someone already totally greased up the window with their sweaty space hands and face.

    Get some windex up there!

    -R2K

  5. I routinely say “thank astronauts” instead of “thank god” when I’m expressing relief, since I know that they’re up there, looking benevolently down at us. Can’t say the same for any deities I’ve ever heard of.

  6. Yes, it’s really amazing we are up there. It wasn’t that long ago that people thought this stuff is impossible.

    I’m just waiting for Virgin Galactic or whoever to make space travel commercial and cheap so that 30 years from now I can do the same thing. :)

  7. Dusty

    It’s hard to pick my favorite image, but I can definitely point out my least favorite:

  8. Robert

    OK Allen, list the discoveries from the ISS.

    Besides it being the only known way to get a gazillionaire to scrape mold and do otherkeeping chores and have him pay for the privelege.

  9. BJN

    @R2K

    Yes indeed. That grease can’t be good for photographic clarity. This photo gave me a hint of how the space station must smell and look a lot like an old gym. So much for the antiseptic spacecraft that Hollywood has modeled in so many science fiction movies.

  10. Pi-needles

    If only the International Space Station looked more like an O’Neil Colony or Deep Space Nine .. Sigh.

    Afraid this specific picture doesn’t float my boat – it makes it look so cramped like Soichi Noguchi can’t even stand up straight without banging his head! ;-)

    @ 8. Robert Says:

    OK Allen, list the discoveries from the ISS.

    You may want to at least wait until its been finished first before bagging the ISS y’know! ;-)

  11. Jya Jya Binks Killer

    Argh! No! Noguchi has been turned into a vampire by the mutant rays of space – that or another undead astronaut:

    He’s got no reflection in the windows there!

    Send Buffy up there quick! ;-)

  12. Ken (a different Ken)

    @2-4: The handprints are the least of the problem. I’d be the one yelling “turn the dang lights off!” :-)

  13. After all, there is still an ‘under construction’ sign hanging up in there. ;) As far as discoveries go. Perhaps some of the newer or refined technologies that went into making the ISS is a good star. Air purification has to be a big one. Water purification (though I think it broke!)

    I have no problem with paying my 0.7 penny for pretty pictures … for now!

    Long term micro-g effects and better ways to counter them should be one of the top priorities. That’s just me though…

  14. Allen

    @8 Robert

    It’s not so much the discoveries that are being made on the ISS (I don’t keep up with the work they do up there), but more of the technologies that are going into the Space Station. Also, my comment was more of a generalization about the discoveries we’re making here on Earth. This is an exciting time to be alive.

  15. XMark

    I think one of the biggest achievements of the International Space Station is WE HAVE A FREAKING INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

  16. From NASA site (a link to which I convieniently for you attached to my nickname):

    “The publications (bibliographic references) listed on this page result from research performed on the International Space Station (ISS) or on Shuttle Missions to the ISS (“Sorties”). The publications are listed alphabetically by experiment.”

    And a list follows…

    Contrary to what some of you suggest, there is actual science being done on ISS. Maybe it doesn’t hit the news every other day… but hey, what science does?

  17. T_U_T

    That’s definitely the best way to take pictures of the earth from space – A human with a hand held camera shooting through a smudgy window. One of these days we may be able to create “robots” and some kind of new fangled “satellite” that the kids are talking about – but them’s pipe dreams I tell ya.

    Tell me one human activity that can not be, or could not be done by robots. So what are humans good for, according to you ? ( except for building the first generation of robots ? )

  18. Kieran

    “Tell me one human activity that can not be, or could not be done by robots”

    Can they love?

  19. T_U_T

    Can they love?

    virtual Cheyenne says :

    Robot love will be more efficient, safe, and above all, orders of magnitude cheaper than human love

    :P

  20. Lancelot

    Machine to take spacial pictures, its called Hubble, safe cheap robot love, it’s called sex-dolls. Man this is so ridiculous. Do you really care about what your PC dreams of? What human are good for? Anyone that think like this already has lost his humanity, and before considering appling us all for the darwinian awards, they should try to go back to the root of what we are.

    Have we lost our ability to dream in this era of cheap hollywood special effects, so that it is not worthed doing anything for real? These days its all about how and we forgot the why.

    Robots? I think the most advanced robots of the future will not be sillicon-based but rather carbon-based, and even you can produce them today with very low-tech technology, its called a baby, try the real love of a human for God sake. You spend way too much time with your sillicon friends.

  21. T_U_T

    FIY, I am just parodying those guys who think that we should abandon the rest of the universe and leave it to the robots by taking their position to the logical extreme – abandoning everything to the robots.

  22. andyo

    Big deal. I bet I could also handhold a 800mm lens in microgravity.

  23. mfumbesi

    He is shooting with Nikon, that is why his pics are always sharply focused.(I’m a Canonite, I’ve learned to live with soft focus.)

  24. Thomas

    Soichi is one of the few people I follow on Twitter. Love his pics.

  25. Calli Arcale

    Dusty @ 7:

    It’s hard to pick my favorite image, but I can definitely point out my least favorite:

    Why, because it involves a Russian Orthodox priest blessing a rocket? Read up on Russian manned spaceflight. This is actually one of the more normal traditions they have before manned spaceflight. I am seriously not kidding. Yeah, I know we don’t do stuff like that — but we also don’t think it’s bad luck if the cosmonauts don’t take a moment to relieve themselves on the astrovan’s tires (just because Yuri Gagarin did).

    Basically, if something was done on a past launch, and it went well, they keep doing it. Hard to know how much is out of superstition and how much is just to quiet pre-launch jitters, but it’s become quite an elaborate process now.

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