In 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly blasted off to spend close to a year onboard the International Space Station. The "Year in Space" mission saw Kelly set the record for the total number of days spent in space by an American astronaut and allowed NASA to conduct tests on the effects of space travel on the human body. But it also allowed Kelly to take a year's worth of stunning photographs of the Earth, much of which he dubbed "Earth Art."
Kelly tweeted this image from the ISS with the message, "Patches of emerald, amber and purplish-blue woven over #MiddleEast like a colorful carpet."
"I'm an OK photographer," Kelly told CNET. "I think my somewhat unique skill set was having an artistic eye when it came to photographing the earth, particularly the close up photos I called 'Earth Art'."
A shot showing "the depths of Bahamas blues." Speaking to CNET about the launch of his new book of photography, Scott Kelly said it wasn't bittersweet to look back on the images he took on his Year in Space mission.
"I look at them with nostalgia of an incredible experience and privilege," he said.
From such a distance, Kelly's photos of the Earth lose a lot of their sense of place and become works of art. This shot, taken on May 8, 2015, shows the northern African Great Sand Sea, Libyan Desert and western Egypt.
Also known as the "Eye of Africa," the Richat Structure is a geologic dome on the western edge of the Sahara, eroded over millions of years to show layers of sedimentary rock. It now makes for what Kelly calls a "wall-worthy art photo."
Kelly didn't just capture images of natural landscapes from the ISS. This shot of the southeast of the United States shows the Florida panhandle and the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Kelly captured the night lights from 220 miles above Earth.
Kelly tweeted out this image in May 2015, asking his followers to name the four international borders shown in the photo. Two winners who correctly named Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Poland were given a signed copy of the photo when Kelly returned to Earth.
Scott Kelly tweeted this image of Earth after 330 days in Space, saying he had always been counting up through the days during his year in space. But with 10 days left in February 2016, he started counting down.