Astronaut Don Pettit, just floatin' around in the ISS with his camera collection, like you do (photo)

Above, a NASA photo of astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 31 flight engineer, posing with some sweet-ass digital cameras in the Cupola of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-112469 (10 June 2012).

I hereby propose that someone launch a tumblr with more photos like this, to be titled FUCK YEAH DON PETTIT.

Larger sizes at OnOrbit, via PetaPixel, via BB's sainted sysadmin Ken.

Update: is now a thing.


  1. So, although this picture is pretty cool, I can’t help but think that he could have just brought his best one (with a backup) and multiple memory cards and subsequently saved some weight on the trip up. 

    Reminds me of the person I know that bought a new weed trimmer whenever the line ran out because she didn’t know it could be refilled with more line… It took 5x buying a new one before someone told her.

    1. They’re other people’s cameras.  They go, “Hey, Don, can you snap a couple of shots for me with this?”

      He goes, “Uhh, yeah, sure.  It’s only $40,000 per ounce to transport this shit into orbit.  Not my money.”

      1. He’s like the worst roommate ever.  “Dude, can I put a couple of boxes in the moving truck?  Just like one or two small ones, you won’t even notice.”

      2. The $40,000 per ounce consideration was my first thought too upon seeing this image.  I suppose NASA and other associated space organizations are all for spending that much to make sure the amazing photos and video keep coming – it’s great PR and therefore probably well worth the payload cost.

    2. I don’t know the answer but can speculate too :)

      I don’t think this is an inordinate number of cameras to have on the ISS. For one, as has been noted it’s possible that some have been modified for special purposes. At the most basic level, they might want to use a crop-sensor camera to get extra reach out of their telephoto lenses, and full-frame sensors for everything else (we can of course argue about whether this actually makes a difference ;)

      But more obviously, having a camera fail would be terrible – many people who been on any kind of adventure and had their only camera fail can attest to that.

      I’ve never had a camera break but it’s happened to several people I know – I’m a geologist and we use cameras in the field for scientific purposes. It can be a disaster to have your only camera break, especially since geologists can’t draw anymore :) I carry a backup if I’m doing something important (for field work a point and shoot is usually fine). When you’re in space and a replacement is weeks away at best, you don’t get by on just one backup – I think even four or five purely backup cameras isn’t overkill.

      Also it’s likely that they want the latest and greatest cameras, but might decide not to bring down the old ones right away in case there’s an unforeseen issue with the new ones. 

  2. I’d think they are special purposed cameras. One says “Aurora”. Perhaps there is a good wavelength for that. I also think that it’s better to change camera than lenses up there. Anyway it’s quicker, and you don’t want to loose too much time, I gather, at the cuppola.

    1. That’s Aurora’s camera.  If you look carefully, you’ll also see Pete and Mary. Dude’s a camera thief, and NOBODY can get them back because of where he took them.

  3. Looks like they’re ALL Nikons. Note also a couple small pairs of binoculars at lower left.

  4.  Ya know, ever since that cupola has been on the ISS, I cannot fathom how anyone is getting any work done up there. I would LIVE in that fricking space!!! The view must be stupendous…

  5. And amusingly enough, there is one more camera up there which is not in the picture, the one used to take the photo itself.

    1. Hah! Way to think ‘outside the bun’ there, Westfakia :)

      Maybe we can ZOOM ENHANCE on his eyes to see what equipment is being used for this pic. lol

  6. Yup, when you are in space you can drop expensive cameras without risk of damage! They get too confused about ‘down’ to actually fall! Did I mention that I’m in space?

  7. A number of the cameras sport anodized mounting plates suggesting they were temporarily removed from other setups for the photo. There are six people on the ISS right now, figure four are awake at any given time- better to have a bunch of cameras on hand and not have astronauts waste time waiting/looking for them.

    Backups make sense.  Some might have special sensor/lens combinations for specialized functions, requiring even more backups.

    As for having the latest and greatest- probably, but not necessarily. If an older model is already “up there”,  has sufficient performance, has proven reliable, and the astronauts are comfortable with it (what does this button do?), I could see them sticking with it until there’s a compelling reason for an upgrade. Just send the memory cards up and down.

    1. Why send the memory cards? They’ll send the data. Shipping is expensive, data is cheap.

  8. Christ, what a Geek!

    Of course, that’s why he’s in NASA, and why we sent him to the ISS, right? I loved his water bubble inside an air bubble inside a water bubble video, truly awesome!

  9. weeeelllll, we have this whole photo laboratory up there, but all that gets released is some stinky, noisy photo every half year? really?

  10. Next week on Hoarders
    “Well, it costs so durned much to ship ’em up here, I just can’t bring myself to throw ’em out…”

  11. I heard at a talk for the “Man on a Mission” doc that the reason they don’t bring the cameras back is that the sensors actually deteriorate fast up there and most of the cameras you see are ruined.

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