Johnson Space Center, Houston
August 22, 2005
Space Station Visit Inspires Astronaut's Passion for Photography
For centuries, exotic spaces from exotic places have captured the hearts of many photographers, both professional and amateur. For Expedition 10 International Space Station Commander Leroy Chiao, it was something out of this world -- his extraordinary view 230 miles above the Earth -- that inspired him to capture thousands of majestic images from space.
NASA is featuring some of his personal favorites on the Internet. "One of the highlights of my time on orbit was to look out the window at the Earth and snap photos," Chiao said. He returned in April from his long-duration spaceflight.
As part of his duties, Chiao captured photos and video of Earth based on suggestions made by a team of scientists before the mission began. The scientists identified photo opportunities that aligned with the Station's daily orbit that included meteorological and, atmospheric phenomena, geographical, manmade and natural landmarks. These Earth-observation photos are valuable to the scientific and research community.
Chiao faced some unique challenges to capture some of the images. "Being in space means having to find ways to support yourself and the camera," Chiao explained. "In addition, since the Earth is moving past at 17,500 miles per hour, or about five miles per second, you must pan the camera as the shutter is released, otherwise the image will blur and appear out of focus," he said.
Chiao found what began as a routine task developed into a passionate hobby, as he gained more interest and skill in photography. "You know, after a while you just get a little better and a little better, and after six and a half months, you get to take a few good ones," Chiao said.
Chiao picked his top 10 favorite photographs, and the images are available on the Web, along with several more of his photos from space. His top photographs include images of the Great Wall of China and the Himalayan Mountains.
"I try to be artistic, but I am, in many ways, a typical engineer. Photography in space helped to bring out the artistic side in me," Chiao said. "The beauty of the Earth was very inspiring, and I tried to find new ways to capture and express that beauty," he added.
For more information about Chiao's photographs on the Web, visit:
To view Chiao's top 10 photographs on the Web, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
- end -
text-only version of this release
NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending a blank e-mail message to
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send a blank e-mail message to
Back to NASA Newsroom |
Back to NASA Homepage