"A simple toy from my childhood makes for a cool picture in space." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter, June 1, 2014
VIEW GALLERY | 17 PHOTOS
"A simple toy from my childhood makes for a cool picture in space." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter, June 1, 2014Reid Wiseman—NASA
"A simple toy from my childhood makes for a cool picture in space." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter, June 1, 2014
"The interesting shaped #eye of super #TyphoonNeoguri" - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on July 7, 2014
"Hurricane #Arthur has grown an eye since we last met." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on July 3, 2014
"I will never tire of this view." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 19, 2014
"Watching mother nature at work in Africa." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 21, 2014.
"Only been once, but I remember Oman with fondness." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 14, 2014.
"This will go in my living room. Australia’s north shore." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 9, 2014.
"Passed over my favorite volcano field again today." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 16, 2014.
"I’m becoming obsessed with volcanoes, and for good reason. Chile." - Reid Wiseman, June 6, 2014.
"Our world is beautiful #Exp40 #Africa." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 27, 2014.
"Where did they get the water to farm here? Extremely #outofplace." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 27, 2014.
Reid Wiseman ‏@astro_reid Jun 21 View translationA single jetliner streaks over south-central Africa. pic.twitter.com/oe31IdN2gK
"I think someone in #Midland #Texas is trying to tell us something." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on July 5, 2014.
"Amazing lightning storms over Malaysia." Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 25, 2014.
"The full moon is tiny, but extremely detailed up here." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on June 12, 2014.
"Here is a #TodaySunrise from space for @MLauer." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on July 1, 2014.
"Moonrise from the #ISS." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter on July 8, 2014.
"A simple toy from my childhood makes for a cool picture in space." - Reid Wiseman via Twitter, June 1, 2014
Reid Wiseman—NASA
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Around the World in 90 Minutes with Astronaut Reid Wiseman

Jul 14, 2014

This week, TIME LightBox takes a deep look at the different types of photography produced in space, the tools used by astronauts and their robotic counterparts, the scientific and sociological implications of photos made by the space program, and how space photography fits into the pantheon of photography proper. Plus, we'll show you some really breathtaking and, in some cases, rarely seen, images - because what is more breathtaking than photos from space?

Reid Wiseman is not the first astronaut to share photos from space with the Earth-bound public; nor is he the first astronaut to use social media to do so. He is part of a long line of intrepid space travelers - human and robot alike - who have made images in the final frontier and shared them with us back at home, from Buzz Aldrin's photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon, to the Apollo 8 astronauts' live Christmas eve television broadcast, to Chris Hadfield's YouTube cover of Space Oddity, to Galileo, Voyagers I and II, and Curiosity Rover recording images from deeper parts of space.

Wiseman is, however, aboard the International Space Station at a moment when communication platforms available to astronauts are more instantaneous and visual than ever before.

Wiseman, a Baltimore native and former naval aviator, traveled into space on May 28, 2014 from Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He had, up to that point, shared much of his training across Twitter and had begun experimenting with Vine; he continued to do so through the launch itself and then as he began his life on the International Space Station, which orbits the Earth in 90 minutes.

In a video chat with TIME's Jeffrey Kluger on July 9th, Wiseman said of his social media presence, "I think the astronauts have always wanted to share their journey with as many people as possible. And I think Apollo, with the tools they had, they did a phenomenal job. We're just lucky to live in this day where, when I take a photograph with a camera... we can email it straight into our Twitter feeds, and it just makes it so much easier to share this experience... It's almost just become a little collateral duty of ours, so you don't even think about it through the day, it's so easy. But it's appreciated and we really enjoy doing it."

Part of Wiseman's success on these platforms is his relatability - he's struck a tone of constant awe and incredulity at his daily life on the space station that one wouldn't expect from a highly trained and capable flight engineer. He's also made his sharing extremely visual - he seems to send a constant stream of TwitPics and #SpaceVines to a growing following of over 150,000.

Finally! #SoyuzTMA13M selfie @astro_alex @msuraev pic.twitter.com/mI8YkfcoWc— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) June 2, 2014

His steady social presence has both its supporters and detractors. Setting those opinions aside, he has found a way to create excitement around an expedition fraught with political tension using photography and video as a starting point for communication and for activating and engaging a wide, universal audience.

Mia Tramz is an Associate Photo Editor at Time.com. Follow her on Twitter @miatramz.

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