Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Latest spacewalk ‘selfie’ taken against background of Earth.

Astronaut Butch Wilmore took a dramatic picture of himself during a spacewalk this weekend, featuring himself against a background of the blue and white Earth and part of the International Space Station (ISS).
Fellow astronaut and spacewalker Terry Virts is visible in the photo as a reflection in Wilmore’s visor.
NASA publicly released the image, taken during the first of three scheduled spacewalks being done to get the space station ready for the docking of commercial crew vehicles within several years.

Wilmore’s selfie, showing a large Earth complete with white clouds and blue surface behind him, obtained 54,000 likes on NASA’s Facebook page.

The photo is the latest social media hit from space.

Best known on social media are music videos recorded on the ISS by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. As his farewell from the space station in 2013, Hadfield, who has a million Twitter followers, recorded himself singing David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity.”

Many astronauts have taken space selfies in recent years, and now robotic missions are following their lead. The Mars Curiosity Rover took a selfie against the red Martian surface, and Rosetta, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) mission to Comet 67P/Cheryumov-Gerasimenko, also took a self-portrait.

Long before the digital age and the popularization of “selfies,” astronaut and future moonwalker Buzz Aldrin photographed himself in a 1966 spacewalk, known as an extravehicular activity, during the Gemini 12 mission.

Wilmore and Virts successfully completed all the scheduled work on their Saturday spacewalk, including the rigging of power and data cables on the Harmony module and re-pressurizing an airlock.

In a public statement, NASA noted, “The cable routing work is part of a reconfiguration of station systems and modules to accommodate the delivery of new docking adapters that commercial crew vehicles will use later this decade to deliver astronauts to the orbital laboratory.”

The astronauts’ next spacewalk is scheduled for Wednesday, February 25. NASA will cover the event starting Wednesday morning at 6 AM EST.

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