Image: Discovery launch
NASA/Ben Cooper
The shuttle Discovery launches at night in August 2009.
updated 8/31/2010 2:39:47 PM ET 2010-08-31T18:39:47

NASA has posted almost 200 pictures to the photo-sharing site Flickr in what is the first of many batches of photos the space agency plans to share for public feedback.

The images, divvied up into three compilations and covering more than half a century of NASA history, are available for viewing and download in " The Commons."

Flickr launched The Commons with the Library of Congress to increase access to publicly-held photography collections and provide a way for the public to contribute information and knowledge.

"NASA on The Commons is bringing literally out-of-these-world images to Flickr," said Douglas Alexander, general manager of Flickr. "We are thrilled to be working with NASA to offer such a rich archive and provide amazing insight into this country's space program and its early beginnings."

The group will continue to create and release new photo sets that highlight different elements, themes or achievements.

Astronaut John Glenn (suited) leaves quarters prior to the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission.

Visitors to NASA on The Commons can help tell the photos' stories by adding tags, or keywords, to the images to identify objects and people. In addition, viewers can communicate with other visitors by sharing comments. These " crowd-sourcing " contributions will help make the images easier to find online and add insight about NASA's history, organizers said.

The first three sets of photos share a common theme of NASA's beginnings. The "Launch and Takeoff" set captures iconic spacecraft and aircraft taking flight.

"Building NASA" spotlights groundbreaking events and the construction of some of NASA's one-of-a-kind facilities.

The "Center Namesakes" set features photos of the founders and figureheads of NASA's 10 field centers.

Debbie Rivera, lead for the NASA Images project at the agency's headquarters in Washington, said that "the public can help the agency capture historical knowledge about missions and programs through this new resource and make it available for future generations."

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Photos: Month in space: August 2010

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  1. Colorful clash

    NASA's Great Observatories combine forces to create this beautiful image of two colliding galaxies. The Antennae galaxies, located about 62 million light-years from Earth, are shown in a composite view from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue for X-rays), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown for optical wavelengths), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red for infrared wavelengths). The readings were taken in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2005 - then blended together for this Aug. 5 image. The fuller spectrum helps scientists understand the tidal forces shaping the Antennae. (Chandra X-ray Observatory Center) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Wonders of Earth and sky

    In this long-exposure photo, a meteor streaks through the sky over a nature reserve in the southern Spanish town of Antequera early on Aug. 13. The Perseid meteor shower is sparked every August when Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. (Jon Nazca / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Readying the Robonaut

    In the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the dexterous humanoid astronaut helper known as Robonaut 2, or R2, is secured to a base plate on Aug. 16. The plate is part of the robot's launch box, called SLEEPR, or Structural Launch Enclosure to Effectively Protect Robonaut. R2 will fly to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Although it will initially only participate in operational tests, upgrades could eventually allow the robot to realize its true purpose -- helping spacewalking astronauts with tasks outside the space station. (Frankie Martin / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Live fast, die young

    A spectacular new image from the European Southern Observatory’s Wide Field Imager at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, released July 28, shows the brilliant and unusual star WR 22 and its colorful surroundings. WR 22 is a very hot and bright star that is shedding its atmosphere into space at a rate many millions of times faster than the sun. It lies in the outer part of the dramatic Carina Nebula. (ESO) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Ice on the loose

    The ice island that calved off Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland on Aug. 5 continues its slow migration down the fjord 11 days later. An imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite captured this natural-color image on Aug. 16. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Tsunami on the sun

    Almost the full disk of the sun erupts in a tumult of activity on Aug. 1. This extreme ultraviolet image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a C3-class solar flare (the white area at upper left), a solar tsunami (the wavelike structure at upper right), multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more. Different colors in the image represent different gas temperatures. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. All dressed up

    Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev is assisted by specialists during a training session in a pool at the Star City space center outside Moscow on July 28. Kondratyev is scheduled to lift off for the International Space Station later this year. (Sergei Remezov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A mudslide's mortal blow

    An image captured by DigitalGlobe's WorldView 2 satellite on Aug. 10 shows the devastation caused by a mudslide in Zhouqu, China. The catastrophe killed more than 1,200 people and left thousands more homeless. (DigitalGlobe) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Land of the crescent

    The crescent moon is seen hanging in the sky over the mosques of old Cairo on Aug. 15, the fifth day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Asmaa Waguih / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Rovers ready to roll

    Two rover prototypes are prepared in Building 9 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas on July 27 for the annual Desert RATS exploration exercise. The Desert Research and Technology Studies, planned this year in Arizona, are aimed at testing vehicles and instruments that could be used by astronauts on future missions to other worlds. (Regan Geeseman / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Before and after the flood

    Two pictures from the Landsat 5 satellite illustrate the effects of flooding in Pakistan: The top image, captured Aug. 9, shows the region around the city of Khewali before the flood hit. The bottom image shows the same region on Aug. 12, after the flooding began. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Fixing the space station

    NASA spacewalker Tracy Caldwell Dyson works outside the International Space Station to replace a failed ammonia coolant pump module on Aug. 11. Despite some initial setbacks, the crucial repair operation was successful. (NASA TV via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Glorious galaxy

    A Hubble Space Telescope image, released Aug. 10, shows a majestic face-on spiral galaxy located deep within the Coma Cluster of galaxies, 320 million light-years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. The galaxy, known as NGC 4911, contains rich lanes of dust and gas near its center. These are silhouetted against glowing newborn star clusters and iridescent pink clouds of hydrogen - a telltale sign of star formation. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Great view

    NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock sent this picture of a section of Australia's Great Barrier Reef down to Earth from the International Space Station on Aug. 22. "I think even the great Impressionists would be awestruck with this natural display," Wheelock said. (Doug Wheelock / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Ghostly mystery

    This image from the Hubble Space Telescope, obtained on Aug. 19, shows a ghostlike nebula known as IRAS 05437+2502. The nebula is a small star-forming region filled with dark dust that was first noted in images taken by the IRAS satellite in infrared light in 1983. The new image shows many new details, but it has not uncovered a clear cause of the bright sharp arc. (NASA/ESA/HUBBLE/JLP via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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