Publicly available space photos from NASA

NASA photo: The Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off in 1986

NASA photo: The Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off in 1986

Do you need a photo of a planet or of the Space Shuttle Challenger taking off? No need to send your friendly freelance photographer to space on some Russian rocket. You can turn to the source that American citizens have been funding for all sorts of interesting space projects…NASA.

Their easy search system, gives great access to all sorts of cool images of space ships, nebulas, planets, etc.

From what I can tell these photos are available for public use…and even for commercial use.  Here’s how NASA’s Site describes acceptable use of their images,

NASA still images; audio files; video; and computer files used in the rendition of 3-dimensional models, such as texture maps and polygon data in any format, generally are not copyrighted. You may use NASA imagery, video, audio, and data files used for the rendition of 3-dimensional models for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits, computer graphical simulations and Internet Web pages. This general permission extends to personal Web pages.

This general permission does not extend to use of the NASA insignia logo (the blue “meatball” insignia), the retired NASA logotype (the red “worm” logo) and the NASA seal. These images may not be used by persons who are not NASA employees or on products (including Web pages) that are not NASA-sponsored.

NASA should be acknowledged as the source of the material except in cases of advertising.

I’d check into all the details before trying to sell them and if you have questions about using them in advertising you can see the  NASA Advertising Guidelines.
When it comes to those commercial purposes, NASA has pretty simple guidelines…

If the NASA material is to be used for commercial purposes, especially including advertisements, it must not explicitly or implicitly convey NASA’s endorsement of commercial goods or services.

NASA photo: Earthrise

If a NASA image includes an identifiable person, using the image for commercial purposes may infringe that person’

s right of privacy or publicity, and permission should be obtained from the person. Any questions regarding application of any NASA image or emblem should be directed to:

Photo Department

NASA Headquarters
300 E St. SW
Washington, DC 20546
Tel: 202-358-1900
Fax: 202-358-4333

It’s nice to see that the millions of dollars that go into space programs not only generate technology advances but provide the people with really cool photos… like the classic earthrise with the moon in the foreground or the double jet nebula:

The Twin Jet Nebula as seen by the Hubble Telescope in Dec. 1997

The Twin Jet Nebula as seen by the Hubble Telescope in Dec. 1997