Want to snap a spacewalk selfie? It's harder than you think

A NASA astronaut offers up a perfect metaphor for what it's like to snap a selfie while wearing a spacesuit outside the International Space Station.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Most of us take selfies for granted. You just point your phone at yourself and click to take a snap. Easy. For astronauts out on a spacewalk, though, achieving a selfie is a big challenge. 

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik shared a succinct description of his trials and tribulations on Twitter today:

Bresnik's spacewalk selfie is a gorgeous photo showing the shiny bubble of his helmet reflecting the station while Earth shows off its clouds behind his head. For those of us stuck down on the planet, Bresnik likens the process of achieving the photo to putting on oven mitts and trying to hit the shutter button on a camera.

If you look closely at Bresnik's selfie, you can see his heavily gloved hands reflected in the visor as he holds a padded camera and triggers the shutter.

Bresnik completed his most recent spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Oct. 10. Along with fellow NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Bresnik lubricated some parts on a robotic arm and replaced a camera system. 

For good measure, I put Bresnik's metaphor to the test. I pulled out a Sony point-and-shoot camera, put on a big green oven glove and made the attempt. So how did my selfie turn out? After much effort, I finally triggered the shutter button and was rewarded with a blurry mess of a selfie. I have a new appreciation for astronaut selfies now.

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