Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looks out of the space station's observation window, called the Cupola, shortly before her return to earth this October after a 176 day mission. On the flight, she operated Endeavorâ€™s robotic arm and directed four spacewalks. Credit: NASA
As a photojournalist, my job mostly involves taking pictures of people. I enjoy nothing more than catching a nice moment, expression or human interaction. The best pictures reveal the emotion the subject is feeling, be it elation, confusion, sadness or anticipation. We read these feelings and relate to them without words – the beauty of photography. While I also take many astrophotos, most involve beautiful if inanimate objects and scenes. I’d love to get aboard a shuttle or the space station and shoot pictures of the astronauts the way I do for the newspaper. Chances are this won’t happen anytime soon. While many of the astronaut photos we see feature faces smiling at the camera, there are a few really excellent ones that go deeper. Were it not for the highly reflective coatings applied to space helmets to reflect sunlight and reduce glare, I’m convinced we’d have many more images of astronauts’ facial expressions as they work, play and explore the terrifyingly beautiful world of outer space. I dug around and offer these for your viewing enjoyment and contemplation this Sunday.
Astronaut John Glenn experiences weightlessness in the Friendship 7 capsule as he circles the Earth in the Friendship 7 capsule. On February 20, 1962, he became the first American to orbit the Earth. Credit: NASA
Astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 14 flight engineer, participates in one of the mission'sÂ extravehicular activities. Williams holds the record for the longest time a woman has spent in space: 195 days. Credit: NASA
A tired but elated Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, after his first moonwalk on July 20, 1969. Credit: Buzz Aldrin / NASA
Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov looks out the window of Russia's Mir space station during rendezvous operations with the Space Shuttle Discovery in this photo taken in February 1995. Polyakov still holds the record for the most consecutive number of days in space - 437 days, 18 hours. Credit: NASA
NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg, looking down on Earth during a mission to the International Space Station on June 10th, 2008. Nyberg is the 50th woman in space. "When girls see pictures of ponytails like the one above, donâ€™t you think it stirs something inside them that says, that could be ME up there!" said Nyberg. Credit: NASA