Over the last 51 years NASA has been the source of some of the most iconic images in seen around the world today. For my money, this one just released made the list among the best of the best. I’ve put together five of my absolute favorite shots from NASA’s manned space program. I had to limit myself because I could easily have done my ten, twenty, even fifty favorite shots, there’s just so many to choose from. I tried to include both some popular ones, but also some lesser known shots, ones that really show the wonders of manned space flight.
Buzz Aldrin Standing on the Moon
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two people to walk on the surface of another world on July 20, 1969, history was made. The simplicity of this photo makes it the most iconic photo from the mission. The image really says it all. There is a human being standing on the moon.
Spider Meets Gumdrop
I love this photo because it represents the spirit of exploration. It really has it all, astronaut, the lunar lander, the command module, Earth hundreds of miles below, and the blackness of space beyond.
Atlantis Docked to Mir
When I first saw this picture, I didn’t believe it was real. It was just too good. Taken from an unmanned supply probe this picture really represents the end of the Cold War. The US space shuttle docked at Russia’s old Mir space station while the crews collaborate on scientific research.
Armstrong and Scott with Hatches Open
Here you can get a peek at the tremendous team effort that goes into every aspect of a space flight. For every one person to fly into space, it takes hundreds of people back on Earth have to make sure the crew return safely. Here you can see astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott waiting for the recovery teams after a particularly rocky mission aboard Gemini 8.