The 20 Most Striking NASA Photos of All Time

Our ancestors millennia ago obviously didn’t have the technology and resources we have today to explore our universe and beyond. Thus, many astronomy enthusiasts ages ago spent their nights looking up at the sky, theorizing and telling tales about the heavens above. Unbeknownst to them, what was really happening light years away was more transcendent than even the most adventurous stories they could have imagined.

Over the past 50 years, NASA has opened the doors for space exploration through their exquisite state of the art telescopes and probes that allow us to observe the perplexities of space. The only way we are able to view the universe is through the photographs released by NASA, unless of course you’re one of the fortunate people who can afford a ticket to space with Virgin Galactic.

It’s important to recognize that compiling a list of just 20 photos out of the hundreds of thousands available is inherently subjective. The photos below have been chosen based on some of the most breathtaking pictures taken through satellite imaging, planetary exploration and spaceflight. If you feel like we missed some great ones, go ahead and post them in the comments section below.

Here is our list of NASA’s 20 most striking photos:



Hubble was used in its early stages to produce a Deep Field image located in a small region in the constellation Ursa Major. In recent years, NASA has generated a new version of this image called the Hubble Extreme Deep Field, which was created from 2000 snapshots of what appeared to be an empty area of sky in just two million seconds. Every pixel, smudge, swirl and every point of light seen in this image is an entire galaxy. Just take a minute to absorb that. Billions upon billions of stars have been compacted into a single pixel in this image.



The Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes together show the chaos of infant stars about 1,500 light-years away in the heart of the Orion Nebula. It is also our closest known massive star formation, and astronomers believe it may very well hold more than 1,000 young stars. The image shows a cluster of newborn stars scattered throughout the cloud. The Orion Nebula is the brightest spot in the sword of Orion, also known as the “hunter” constellation.