The most amazing images of the universe, our galaxy, solar system, and planet come from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Now, exploring those wonderful images is easier than ever before.
NASA and Luna Imaging recently released a new online gallery that includes more than 100,000 NASA images spanning 70 collections belonging to the space agency, such as shots from the Hubble Telescope, Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Being confronted with such a massive trove of space-related images can be a little overwhelming. To help, the front page of the NASA gallery suggests a few topics you can explore, such as the planets, NASA Robotics, the Space Shuttle program, the Ames Research Center, and highlights from the entire collection.
Searching for images is straightforward. In my tests, the gallery had no problem feeding me appropriate results from the Apollo missions, the planets, and terms like “pale blue dot.”
When you click on an image you’ll see a larger version, and the left-hand side of the screen will include the title of the image, an explanation, and other key facts about the photo. Each image also includes a link to purchase a reprint on the upper right side, which may be why the best resolution you can download for free maxes out at 1536 pixels.
If I had one criticism of the new gallery it’s that the front page of the collection belies the Windows 95-ish interface Luna Imaging uses for the actual gallery. It’s just not pretty and is far below the standards of anyone who’s browsed galleries in Flickr, Google Photos, or even Facebook. In my tests, response times on the site were also slow.
Why this matters: Interface quibbles aside, it’s fantastic that the bulk of NASA’s historic images are available in one spot. NASA is by far the world’s most important—and most open—space agency, responsible for many of humanity’s major achievements in space exploration. With this new gallery you’ll have no trouble finding early shots of Earth, exploration on the moon, Hubble’s Pillars of Creation, and astronaut Bruce McCandless II drifting over the earth with the jet-propelled MMU. It’s all there waiting for you to discover.