NASA Astronaut Takes ‘Earthshine’ Selfies In Space

A NASA astronaut has shared several unusual selfies, which depict his face illuminated by “Earthshine” reflecting from the planet 220 miles below.

On Saturday, astronaut Scott Kelly shared the two self portraits, taken from the International Space Station, as CNN reports. In the first selfie, Kelly’s face and arms appear illuminated by light reflected from the surface of the Earth, particularly the North African desert. The second “Earthshine” selfie was the product of light reflecting off the Mediterranean Sea.

Utilizing the different shades of Earthshine produced unique filter-like effects in Kelly’s two selfies, as Yahoo News points out. Light reflected from the desert resulted in an image that was warmly and brightly illuminated, while the Mediterranean produced a bluish-tinged selfie. Since the Space Station travels at a speed of roughly five miles per second, the difference in time between the dual selfies was just a few seconds.

Kelly is currently in orbit as part of a NASA experiment to examine the effects of a sustained presence in space. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the mission began in March and is set to continue for 342 days, just shy of a full year. The time frame will allow Kelly to become the NASA astronaut who has completed the longest mission in space, as the previous record stands at roughly seven months. Having participated in three prior missions, Kelly will have also spent more cumulative time in space than any other NASA astronaut, at 522 days.

Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka are joining Kelly in the experiment on the space station, with Padalka remaining for six months. Kornienko will spend a full year on the station, achieving at its conclusion the distinction of becoming the human being who has spent the most time in space. Meanwhile, Kelly’s identical twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, is taking part in NASA’s experiment by remaining planetbound, giving researchers a baseline to compare his sibling to upon his return.

Kelly has continuously documented his mission with photos posted on his Twitter feed. They reveal stunning images of the Earth and space, as well as at least one other selfie of the NASA astronaut taken with the assistance of Earthshine.

[Image: Scott Kelly via Twitter]