Retired astronaut Scott Kelly spent a record-setting 340 days on the International Space Station. And while he was there, he took hundreds of photographs that he compiled into a book: "Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut’s Photographs From A Year In Space." He spoke with NewsHour Weekend about his experiences in space and the spectacular views of Earth.
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When you're 240 miles from earth, the view is quite literally out of this world. Astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days on the international space station, setting an American record for the longest single space mission and while there, he also took photographs…Hundreds of them and compiled them into a book: Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut's Photographs From A Year In Space.
As an astronaut, photography is a really big part of your job because we take pictures for scientific reasons, we take pictures for engineering reasons and then we take photos to share with the public what we're doing in space.
So you know it became part of my job and I you know became interested in it but really as a result of flying in space.
I think the book has three sections it talks about the mission of flying in space and there's a section called the natural world which has pictures of the earth or space that you can kind of recognize what they are and then the last section is a section that we call Earth art, how you can take photos of the earth and really make it look like a wall worthy piece of artwork.
My mother was an amateur artist and I think I got part of her artistic brain so I, over time, developed a technique where I could take a you know close up picture of the earth with a really long lens, which is challenging when you're moving that five miles a second. So the camera has to move at a very fast but also steady rate to get an image that's in focus and then using a software program I would enhance the colors. I wouldn't add any colors but just enhanced them to you know bring out the natural colors.
You know it takes a long time to develop to get comfortable enough in space where you have you know steady enough hand to get the pictures and focus, especially when you take pictures at night and you use you know camera settings that are you know you're more likely to get is due to your you know your ability to track the earth's surface in a very steady and controlled way.
I just saw how incredibly breathtakingly beautiful our planet Earth is. I knew right then and there I would never see anything like Earth again from space just, it's almost like someone took the most brilliant blue paint and just painted it on a mirror right in front of my eyes and it was absolutely spectacular.