Spacecraft Pictures

Spacecraft are vehicles designed to travel through outer space. They may carry people, scientific instruments and other devices.

This image taken by Curiosity shows an Earth-like desert landscape and features a crater which appears to resemble Disney mascot Mickey Mouse.


Earthrise, taken by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968, remains one of the most iconic spacecraft pictures ever taken. It changed our understanding of our fragile home planet as an outpost suspended in an endless blackness, awakening many and helping the environmental movement gain steam.

At that time, NASA only had one camera capable of taking color images. Anders was taking photographs of craters with that camera when he noticed an ashen-colored Earth emerging above the Moon’s horizon and quickly captured this iconic shot. Later, experts remastered it in color to further enhance its impactfulness – giving viewers a sense that Earth seems bigger and more important to humankind.

The Moon

The Moon is so close to Earth that its gravitational pull exerts an enormous effect. Additionally, its larger mass gives it a uniquely noticeable look during lunar phases.

Its surface features light areas referred to as maria (pronounced mar-ray) and dark features known as impact basins, while craters form its unique form with sharp edges that cut astronauts when walking on it.

The Moon rotates, and over a two week cycle its light shifts from crescent-shaped to gibbous (more than a semicircle but less than full circle) and then full moon; this process is known as lunar cycle.


NASA’s space shuttle program put immense power into orbit between 1981 and 2011, as well as producing some truly breathtaking images.

Charles Duke made a three and final untethered moonwalk as part of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972 and left behind this memento: his family photo. Crater Tycho on the lunar far side can be seen in the background.

Hubble Space Telescope captured this breathtaking picture in August 2020, showing us fresh storms and atmospheric turbulence on Jupiter. Voyager 2 provided our first look at Neptune in 1989 – its orbit takes 17 times around every 164.8 years, featuring the Great Dark Spot which mysteriously disappeared by 1994, along with Eagle Nebula – one of our galaxy’s most well-known star-forming regions.


NASA’s Juno spacecraft began orbiting Jupiter in 2016 and quickly sent back stunning pictures. Although known for its stripes and Great Red Spot, Jupiter actually has a very lively surface that may surprise even experienced observers.

Images show Io, our solar system’s most active volcano. Volcanoes cover its mottled surface in profusion; some even erupt with lava fountains orders of magnitude taller than anything seen here on Earth.

Scientists are exploring Jupiter’s three icy moons – Ganymede, Europa and Callisto – with new images that reveal they likely contain oceans beneath their crusts; this finding could indicate life could have first arisen here via water sources. This marks the first time these worlds have ever been photographed from an orbiter with such clarity.


An array of robotic explorers currently roam Mars, providing us with incredible images. Orbiters capture breathtaking aerial shots while rovers make close examinations of rock formations which could provide more insights into its past history.

Some rocks on Mars feature bizarre formations. One such resemblance caught attention early this year when NASA’s Curiosity rover provided images that some thought resembled boot or robot legs; in reality it is actually an erosion-shaped mesa.

Wild dust devils on Mars can leave behind squiggly lines that look like claw marks, as seen here in an image captured by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2016. Additionally, this image displays part of Mars’ ice-rich polar cap – an area roughly as big as all of Earth.

Scroll to Top