NASA has the absolute best resources on the web for pictures of space. We write so many articles about space here on Universe Today, so we’ve learned all the best places to look to get the latest and greatest NASA pictures.
Before we go right to some sites, here’s a general tip that you can use when you’re looking for NASA pictures. Use Google, but have it search for images within NASA’s sites. For example, let’s say that you’re looking for an astronomy picture of Mars, but you want it to be a NASA image. Search in Google for: mars picture site:nasa.gov. You can also switch over to the images tab and see lots and lots of images from NASA. You should be able to find the one you’re looking for.
Perhaps the best place to start is NASA’s Featured Images and Galleries. This is linked from the main NASA page and features current pictures as well as classics from the past. It also links you to other NASA image gallery sites.
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Another classic is the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Keep in mind that although it’s endorsed by NASA, the pictures featured in Astronomy Picture of the Day are owned and copyright by the original photographers. So you can’t just use their pictures without asking permission first.
There’s a fairly new service out called NASA Images. It’s got a huge catalog of NASA pictures, with cool tools that let you organize and download your favorites.
The NASA Image Exchange is a huge database of NASA pictures. You can search by object, or by spacecraft and use other constraints to find the exact image you’re looking for.
The Johnson Digital Image Collection has photographs from all of NASA’s human spaceflight, from the original Mercury and Gemini flights, though the Apollo landings, right up until the space shuttle missions.
And if you want pictures of Earth, check out NASA’s Visible Earth site or the NASA’s Earth Observatory.
If you want pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, here’s their homepage HubbleSite.
Want NASA photos from specific spacecraft? Here’s NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, here are the Mars Exploration Rovers, and here’s Mercury MESSENGER.
That should get you started.
We have written many articles about NASA and its photography here on Universe Today. Check out this gallery of images from the STS-127 shuttle mission. And here are images from the shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
We have also recorded many episodes of Astronomy Cast about space, and we talk about NASA pictures all the time. Listen to this, Episode 88: The Hubble Space Telescope.