From Above – Astronaut Photography with Don Pettit

[Countdown to Launch – Liftoff of Space Shuttle
Endeavor!] Becoming an astronaut was like you’re walking
in the clouds when you first found out that you’ve been selected. My first spaceflight
was on the Space Shuttle Endeavor, STS 113. [Launch control narration] Looking at Earth from space is amazingly beautiful.
It’s a perspective where you can see things on a scale of a half a continent. Apart from everything else an astronaut does
while in orbit, photography is actually part of our job. “I’m gonna to set up to do atmospheric
airglow images.” We take pictures of Earth and the surroundings
of Earth; the upper atmosphere. “And we gotta manually do the F-Stop. We
gotta manually do the focus. And now… we gotta look through this thing…” These pictures in themselves represent a scientific
data set recorded over now for fourteen years. Astronaut imagery of Earth is an example of
learning what you need to take pictures of and how to take the pictures. Space is a place where your normal intuition
does not apply. Things don’t work the way they do down here on Earth. You are moving
at eight kilometers a second… that’s fast! And so you have to be able to smooth a camera
at the same rate of orbital motion while you’re taking pictures to actually get the sharpest
imagery. My favorite subject is the Earth at night.
Aurora is just amazingly beautiful. It’s this glowing upper part of the atmosphere
that crawls around like amoebas in the sky. And then cities at night, the way human beings
sprinkle their light bulbs around, it’s a fascinating statement on how we as human
beings define our urban areas. In terms of the star trail pictures, the stars
are moving because of the pitch axis of the station. The cities move by because of your
orbital motion and Earth’s rotation. There’s all kinds of other delightful physics and
natural phenomenon that you can see in these pictures, and we can tickle our imagination
and enrich our minds from this gain in knowledge. When you explore a frontier, the people who
explore bring back images, and bring back stories about what these frontiers are like.
I feel an obligation to share this experience, so that everybody else can at least participate
through the eyes of the people who do go into the frontiers. I’m Don Pettit. I’m a photographer and
an astronaut.

39 Replies to “From Above – Astronaut Photography with Don Pettit”

  1. It's time to create a citizen's space program…a crowd-funded, efficiently operating, transparent and honest agency.

  2. more bullshit cgi. can't believe you people believe this but watch a sci fi movie and don't believe that. can't you tell they are both the same? Open your Fucking eyes pe0ple!!! this is the 21st century, were supposed to intellectually evolved

  3. Only a complete idiot, a total brainwashed whack job, of no real knowledge or intelligence could believe a single word, or image that these lying fucking idiots come out with, NASA are a joke.
    They're not even a recognised science institution among the thinkers of the world, just a bunch of idiot space actors who need to have their funds cut.
    National Academy of Space Actors.

  4. Thanks for putting this together and sharing.  I am happy to spend some moments sharing in your triumph and your enlightenment.  It reminds me the world and our universe is bigger than we can ever imagine.

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