A Cure for 1970s-era Sci-Fi Special Effects: NASA’s Image of the Day Gallery

Earth viewed from spaceI enjoy science fiction (sci-fi) movies and television shows and include the original Star Wars trilogy in my top ten list of favorite movies—certainly Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back but less so the Return of the Jedi simply because I find the ewoks more annoying than cute. This choice in entertainment was probably imprinted upon me at an early age. At age 7, I saw Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as my first movie in a movie theater, and my brothers and I had piles of Star Wars-related toys. Also, I remember watching reruns of the original Star Trek but only when we could get grainy reception of a distant television station. I watched the original Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who during the Tom Baker years and even Pigs in Space on The Muppet Show. It was the late 1970s and 1980s, and I was surrounded by images of space travel, albeit the poor-quality, often cheesy sci-fi images typical of that era.

The author in front of the TARDIS
The author and the TARDIS at the historic dockyard in Portsmouth, England

To this day, I still like to watch some of those old sci-fi shows when I’m feeling nostalgic, and I smile at the rudimentary special effects. However, when I want more realistic images of space and space travel, I visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Image of the Day Gallery, which is filled with photos of genuine spacecraft (without fishing line to hold them up), asteroids, nebulae, dwarf galaxies, alien landscapes and historic events in space exploration. Every time I visit this web site, I am rewarded with images of colorful supernovae, pioneering astronauts, lunar sunrises and the International Space Station. There are so many great images, I can’t pick a favorite.

Next time you need a 5-minute break, check out the NASA Image of the Day Gallery. You’ll be glad you did.

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Terri Sundquist

Terri has worked as a Scientific Communications Specialist at Promega Corporation for more than 13 years, and prior to that, spent more than 5 years solving problems and answering questions as a Promega Technical Services Scientist. She graduated with B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biology at the University of Wisconsin—River Falls, then earned her M.S. in Molecular Biology from the Mayo Graduate School in Rochester Minnesota.


  1. Your Sci-Fi childhood sounds identical to mine (just without the Star Trek)! The NASA gallery is indeed cool, but what really blew me away was being able to watch the space-walk live, during the final shuttle mission. Just being able to go online and watch all that happening from the comfort of your own living room was amazing!

    1. Thanks for the information, FlimsrRuss! I knew that NASA has videos on their site, but I didn’t know that they broadcast live video. I will definitely have to check that out next time NASA decides to broadcast something live. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long.

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