PHOTO: Astronaut Captures Haunting ‘Space Angel’ While Orbiting Earth

by Tia Bailey
Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images

Space is a pretty terrifying concept to many people. Astronauts go and take photos, and when they’re presented to the public, they have always captured something completely stunning and unknown. An astronaut recently shared a photo of a “space angel” she took while in space, and the result is breathtakingly unfamiliar.

Samantha Cristoforetti, an astronaut who is about to become an  ISS commander, shared photos she took. She tweeted: “We had a spectacular view of the #Soyuz launch! Sergey, Dmitry and Frank will come knocking on our door in just a couple of hours… looking forward to welcoming them to their new home! #MissionMinerva.”

The photos are wild. One Twitter user replied: “Space flight these days looks more and more like Star Trek. You are propelling us into the 21th century, fast.” Another said: “You are lucky living beings, like perhaps no one else in the universe.”

Mission Minerva is Cristoforetti’s second mission in space. The mission statement reads: “In 2022, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti returns to the International Space Station for the first time since her Futura mission in 2015. The name of her second mission, Minerva, is inspired by Roman mythology. Through this mission she will continue Europe’s human presence in low-Earth orbit and support research in microgravity to advance our knowledge on Earth and exploration beyond our planet.”

Cristoforreti has kept her social media updated with photos from the mission. The astronaut has also made videos about how things word in zero-gravity. She tweeted: “Sloshing in space! Take a look at how liquids move in ‘weightlessness’ with the Fluidics experiment.”

NASA Astronaut Shares Photo of Star Trails from Space

NASA astronaut Donald Pettit has traveled to the International Space Station three times. He shared a photo that he had taken about a decade ago when he last visited the ISS.

Pettit shared the photo to Reddit earlier this month. The title of the post reads: “I captured something most astrophotographers can only dream about: I captured Star Trails from space. More details in comments.”

The post has about 69 thousand upvotes and a ton of awards. In the comments, he wrote: “These are Star Trails taken from my previous mission to the ISS, Expedition 30, in 2012. I call it ‘Lightning Bugs.’ This is a 15-minute time exposure made by stacking 1 minute single exposures. I used a Nikon D3s, ISO 800, 24 mm lens at f5.6. In the photo, stars make arcing trails in deep space, while a huge thunderstorm pounds Earth below as seen from the time history of lightning flashes. The atmosphere between them glows green with what scientists call airglow, which has a different excitation mechanism than auroras.”

The photo surprised many people. The astronauts that come back and share their stellar photos definitely keep the rest of us who are grounded amazed.