Astronaut Terry Virts’ last shot from space. (Photo: Terry Virts/NASA)
Next time you’re showing off your vacation photos at a party, just hope there aren’t any astronauts in the room. Because they’re probably getting more Instagram likes with theirs.
Three astronauts returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Thursday morning: American Terry Virts, Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, and Russian Anton Shkaplerov. They spent nearly 200 days in orbit, which was a month longer than planned because of safety precautions after an unmanned supply ship’s failure . But the upside to that extended stay was yet more mind-blowing photos of their home planet via their social media feeds.
(Photo: Terry W. Virts/Twitter)
Virts needed until his last day to capture the coup de gras from 250 miles above: a photo of Egypt’s pyramids, which like other manmade structures such as the Great Wall of China are extremely hard or impossible to photograph because of how they blend into the land. But the pyramids stand out beautifully in his shot.
(Photo: Sam Cristoforetti/Twitter)
The other astronauts aboard ISS have been playing space tourist on Twitter as well. Cristoforetti, who on this journey set the world record for time in space by a female astronaut (199 days) and likewise made history by installing an Italian espresso machine onboard.
(Photo: Anton Shkaplerov/Twitter)
Cristoforetti was a busy photographer, too. Her best shots include the outline of Italy illuminated by lights, a psychedelic-looking shot of the Caribbean, and a gorgeous Vine video of an aurora.
(Photo: Scott Kelly/Twitter)
Shkaplerov captured great aerial photos of Maui, Lisbon, and Molokai. American Scott Kelly, who has been on the station for two and a half months, is taking some stunning pictures of his own, including a deep blue, heart-shaped lake in the Himalayas.
Kelly, along with Russians Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, are still on the ISS, with the first two attempting to stay for an unprecedented one year to help scientists learn how space travel affects the human body. They’ll be joined by three more astronauts in July.