One of my favorite pastimes is playing with Photoshop, especially when the mid-to-late summer heat keeps me mostly indoors. And I’ve always been a Nerd Girl at heart, so of course I love NASA’s Image and Video Library (link HERE).
NASA has made its entire collection of images, sounds and video available and publicly searchable online, including more than 140,000 photos and other resources we can download and use any way we like. The images are available to everyone free of charge and free of copyright – NASA simply asks to be acknowledged as the source of the material.
So take Photoshop, plus NASA’s Image and Video Library, plus a few of my favorite Bible verses, and what does this add up to? Several hours of creative fun in honor this summer’s 50th anniversary of Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin taking humanity’s first steps on the moon. (Wow, has it really been that long? I remember this monumental event like it was yesterday.)
The photo below, captured by Hubble, depicts a small region within M17 (the Omega Nebula or Swan Nebula). M17 is one of the largest star-forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy. The image provides the perfect background for Psalm 19:1, don’t you think?
On a visit with Mom to her church, the pastor declared during a sermon, “I have no problem with the Big Bang Theory. God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And BANG! We got millions of stars and galaxies.” I like that. And this photo from the NASA library of NGC 602 – a portion of the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s closest galactic neighbors – makes a perfect background for Genesis 1:3.
Sometimes – especially during the kind of trying times I’ve been having lately – I just don’t understand what God must be thinking! But then I have to remind myself God’s ways are not our ways and we have to trust God even when we don’t understand God. The NASA image popularly named “Earthrise” – one of my favorites! – serves as a potent reminder of this differing perspective, as outlined in Isaiah 55:8-9.
The iconic image “Blue Marble,” taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the moon, has to be my all-time favorite NASA photo. Notice how no national borders or other human distinctions can be seen here. The image seems like a fitting background for Galatians 3:28, one of my favorite Bible verses.
I love this montage of planetary images taken by spacecraft managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Included, from top to bottom, are images of Mercury, Venus, Earth (and moon), Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. (I have to admit I miss Pluto.)
The author of the blog Seeking Divine Perspective (link HERE) suggested the following image of the Helix Nebula, popularly nicknamed “The Eye of God.” Does this image look like a giant cosmic eye, or what? At any rate, it makes a perfect background for Job 28:24. Thanks, Ann!
Shortly after touching down on the moon for the first time, Buzz Aldrin took communion while reading John 15:5, which he had written down on a note card. (And I thought taking communion on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee was amazing.) “At the time, I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormous achievement of Apollo 11 than by giving thanks to God,” Aldrin later wrote in his 2016 memoir No Dream Is Too High.
Aldrin’s historic communion in 1969 is still commemorated every year at his church, Webster Presbyterian, just down the road from NASA’s mission control center in Houston. Now known as the Church of the Astronauts, Webster Presbyterian is spiritual home to dozens of NASA scientists, engineers, astronauts, lunar mission contractors and their families. The stained glass windows feature images of the moon, the stars and distant nebulae, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle (link HERE).
What’s really great about the NASA site is that the thousands upon thousands of photos of our amazing universe serve to remind me that religion and science need not be seen as opposed to each other. Who can look at these astonishing photos and not see evidence of a Creator? And I like knowing that many of the the astronauts and other scientists who work at NASA share a strong faith as well.