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One’s perspective shifts when one lives for an entire year–as Commander Scott Kelly, and no other American astronaut in history, has–in the isolating, grueling, and utterly unforgiving vacuum of space. Kelly’s photos prove that this perspective–from 250 miles above earth–while hard-won, is also almost unspeakably beautiful. He mastered the rare art of microgravity photography. Using a Nikon D4 with a long 800mm lens and a 1.4x magnifying zoom lens, he panned the camera as the shutter released in order to compensate for the space station’s velocity: 17,500 mph relative to the earth. Kelly’s artist’s eye helped make him a social media sensation, and here his photos are collected alongside his own commentary, which sets the images in their proper contexts, human and cosmic. Kelly captures sunsets, moonrises, the aurora borealis, and the luminous, hazy tapestry of the Milky Way. He presents snapshots of life and work on the International Space Station, from spacewalks to selfies. But above all–or floating amid all–he takes the earth itself as his celestial muse. Here are hurricanes, wrinkled mountains, New York City shining like a galaxy–glorious photographs that are, in themselves, a passionate argument for the preservation of our planet in the face of climate change and environmental destruction.
From the Publisher
Scott Kelly is a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired U.S. Navy captain. Endurance is Kelly’s best-selling memoir
The strongest hurricane ever recorded
I shot this photo of hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, edging closer to landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico, a few days before my first ever space walk. The storm reminded me of my late mother, Patricia. She was a strong force in my life.
My space flowers after the harvest. I posted this on Valentine’s Day. Earth is in the background. I was genuinely touched by how, with a little help, the flowers thrived.
Be careful shooting the sun
It is a challenge to take great photos of the sun, since it rises and sets so rapidly. Furthermore, the brightness of the sun without the filtration of the atmosphere makes it risky to look anywhere near it, so you have to be very careful. This is one of my favorite sunset pictures, taken south of the island of Bermuda.
During the Year in Space mission, he set records for the total accumulated number of days spent in space and for the single longest space mission by an American astronaut
Coming inside the space station through the Quest airlock after my first space walk. I don’t know why we call it space walking; we should call it space working. I was completely exhausted after the seven-hour-sixteen-minute excursion outside the International Space Station.
In the cupola, over the Bahamas. With the growing trend of feet photos on Instagram, I decided to turn myself so my feet were pointing toward Earth as I snapped this photo to share my unique point of view from our ‘glass bottom boat’ in space.
What am I looking at?
Fiery veins crossing in Al Farafra-Al Wahat, New Valley, Egypt.