I'm on a hunt for photos of man-made objects taken when they are not in orbit around a planet and they seem to be few and far between. My guess is that most spacecraft can't take selfies and no-one bothers to point near-visible-light telescopes at them. That said, the recent Curiosity and Perseverance rovers have cameras on arms and have taken selfies, so I'm curious as to what other spacecraft have done this

The images I've managed to find so far are:

I would have expected a few from the Apollo missions, but it seems like most of the operations where they had an opportunity to take this sort of image (eg rendezvous/docking) occurred near either the earth or the moon

My aim for these photos is to examine the lighting/material appearance on them (I am in the process of making a computer game set in space). My understanding is that there should only be a highly directional light and self-reflections and I want to see what that looks like!


1 Answer 1


The J-Missions of Apollo all took pictures during a space walk on the return leg back to Earth. Here's one example if Al Worden during Apollo 15 https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/s71-43202.jpg

There are similar shots from Apollo 16 and 17. For example, here is Ron Evans during Apollo 17 https://www.flickr.com/photos/projectapolloarchive/21900092542/in/album-72157659004120278/

The spaceship isn't in full view in these, but maybe they still fit your criteria? Even though technically, the spaceship could be considered as being "in orbit" around Earth with a really high apogee.

  • $\begingroup$ That album from Apollo 17 is gold. All the white/metallic surfaces mean there is a lot more scattered light than I was expecting. $\endgroup$
    – sdfgeoff
    Mar 17, 2021 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ For the curious: A superbly remastered video of Ron Evan's spacewalk from Apollo 17 just got posted at youtu.be/SI4ou1PpFH0 $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2021 at 16:59

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