Astronauts Kick Off Spacewalk Trilogy With a Selfie

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This gravity-defying, perspective-bending photo is an early contender for selfie of the year — but the one taking it isn't who you think. NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore takes up most of the frame, and his outstretched arm is such a distinctive selfie pose that it's easy to miss the fact that, if you look closely at the reflection in his visor, he's not holding a camera at all!

In fact, fellow spacewalker Terry Virts is the one taking the shot, with the sparkling blue of an Earthly ocean as the backdrop — look closely at the reflection and you'll see him floating upside-down a few feet away. A similar thing happened on the moon in 1969, when Neil Armstrong captured himself in Buzz Aldrin's mirror-like visor. (Incidentally, Aldrin took a real selfie in orbit in 1966.)

The six-hour, 41-minute spacewalk was the first ever for Virts, the second for Wilmore, and one of three scheduled this week. New power and data cables are required for upcoming improvements to the docking systems on the International Space Station, but with several hundred feet of cable to lay and a lube job to perform on the station's robotic arm, there's more than enough work for two more outings. The plan is to go out again on Wednesday and Sunday.

With digital cameras and a reliable (though slow) Internet connection on the ISS, you can expect space selfies to appear regularly for the foreseeable future. This one was shared over the weekend by NASA on social media. You can keep up with the ISS crew and see a ton more pictures (selfies and otherwise) at the astronauts' Twitter feed.



—Devin Coldewey