National Selfie Day: Striking space selfies snapped beyond Earth

Selfies aren't bound to our planet.


Amanda Kooser

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1 of 15 Buzz Aldrin/NASA

Buzz Aldrin's first space selfie

Space selfies have a long and distinguished history, but we have to go back decades to try to find the first one.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin hopped on the selfie bandwagon long before the self-portraits became an Internet movement. Last year, he posted this image on his WhoSay page with the caption "@NASA I believe I get to claim the first EVA selfie from space during my Gemini 12 spacewalk orbiting Earth 17,000 mph. Best. Selfie. Ever." The space selfie was taken in 1966.

2 of 15 NASA

Spacewalking selfie in 2015

Buzz Aldrin may claim the first space selfie from back in 1966, but the trend is still going strong today. Astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore captured this image in February 2015 while running cable outside the International Space Station. It proved a hit on NASA's Facebook page, earning over 54,000 likes.

3 of 15 Charles Conrad/Apollo 12/NASA

Apollo 12 visor reflection

Selfie-obsessed people on Earth often use bathroom mirrors to take photos of themselves. On the moon, astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad captured himself reflected in fellow astronaut Alan Bean's helmet visor. This image was taken during the Apollo 12 mission in 1969 while Bean was collecting lunar soil samples.

4 of 15 NASA

Blue Marble as a selfie background

The curve of the Earth behind NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins makes a dramatic backdrop for this selfie, which was taken on December 24, 2013. Hopkins was a member of Expedition 38 and participated in a spacewalk to change out a pump module on the International Space Station.

5 of 15 NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Selfie on Mars

Humans aren't the only ones to embrace space selfies. NASA's Mars Curiosity rover delivered this selfie from the surface of the Red Planet in 2014 to mark the occasion of its first full Martian year. The selfie is composed of dozens of images patched together by NASA into a complete picture. Curiosity was at a site called Windjana at the time.

6 of 15 ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Rosetta takes selfie with comet

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko photobombs the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft in this impressive selfie taken in September 2014. The image was captured while the Rosetta team was still in the process of determining a site for the Philae lander to touch down on the comet.

7 of 15 NASA

Camera takes center stage

Astronaut Chris Cassidy took this charming space selfie during a spacewalk on July 16, 2013. A digital still camera covers most of his visor. The International Space Station can be seen in the background.

8 of 15 NASA

The void behind a space selfie

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, part of the International Space Station Expedition 32 crew, took this selfie during a spacewalk in 2012 that lasted over six hours. The lens-flare-like splash of light over his shoulder is the sun.

9 of 15 NASA

Space shuttle repair selfie

Astronaut Steve Robinson headed outside the space shuttle Discovery to do some repair work underneath the craft in 2005. He removed a couple of protruding pieces from the heat shield, but also took a moment to snap this space selfie. The heat shield is visible in the visor reflection.

10 of 15 NASA

Space selfie guilty pleasure

Astronaut Reid Wiseman shared this space selfie on Twitter in late 2014. "Guilty pleasure to turn the camera upon thyself during a #spacewalk," he wrote. Details like the light on the side of his helmet and his hands reflecting in the visor can be seen.

Sam Cristoforetti as Janeway
11 of 15 Samantha Cristoforetti/ESA

Star Trek selfie on the ISS

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shared her love of Star Trek in this selfie taken in 2015 aboard the International Space Station. Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, wears a Federation uniform tribute to Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager.

12 of 15 NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity rover's cutest selfie

Can a planet-exploring machine look cute? Yes, it can. This charming Mars Curiosity rover close-up selfie comes from early 2018 and shows the vehicle's "head." It looks like it's auditioning for a role in WALL-E. 

13 of 15 NASA/JPL-CalTech

Dusty Mars selfie

A global dust storm hit Mars in 2018 and reduced visibility at the Curiosity rover's location in the Gale Crater. This selfie, taken during the storm, gives us a good look at the overall haze in the atmosphere. The massive storm caused NASA's Opportunity rover to hibernate on the other side of the planet.

14 of 15 NASA/JPL-Caltech

Opportunity gets a selfie

NASA's older Opportunity rover has been on the Red Planet a lot longer than its younger cousin Curiosity. "Oppy" got in on the selfie trend for the first time in early 2018 with this self-portrait celebrating its 5,000th day on Mars. It's not as refined as Curiosity's selfies, but it's perfectly charming in its own right.

15 of 15 Ball Aerospace

James Webb telescope selfie

This space-related selfie happened right here on Earth. You can see Ball Aerospace optical engineer Larkin Carey reflected on the gold surface of the James Webb Space Telescope's secondary mirror during testing in 2017. The Webb will eventually take over for Hubble.

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