The Far Out Winners of NASA’s Photo of the Year Contest

Five astronauts in orange suits standing confidently next to a spacecraft engine in a technical facility with industrial equipment and scaffolding.

NASA has revealed its best photos of 2023 showing spectacular space technology as well as the people behind it.

Many of the photos detail the Artemis program which intends to re-establish a human presence on the Moon for the first time since 1972.

There’s mindblowing images of the Space Launch System (SLS) being assembled — the primary launch vehicle of the Artemis Moon landing program. There’s also a group shot of the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon on Artemis II as well as a recovery simulation for when they land back on Earth.

View from inside a helicopter cockpit showing the pilot’s viewpoint, with controls visible and a barren landscape visible through the glass below.
NASA research pilot Nils Larson and photographer Jim Ross complete aerobatic maneuvers in a T-34C aircraft during a proficiency flight at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. | NASA/Jim Ross

“When we fly proficiency flights, my mind is always thinking about what kind of photo I can take that will share what I am experiencing in the aircraft,” photographer Jim Ross says of the above image. “This photo was one that I feel is able to tell that story.”

Two men intensely facing each other with a shattered glass object between them, highlighted by dramatic lighting in a dark setting.
Curtis Flack (left) and Paul von Hardenberg (right) inspect the ice formation on the spinner of an Advanced Air Mobility proprotor model tested in the Icing Research Tunnel. The data from the test will be used by icing researchers to better understand the risks of icing on electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles which will assist with the design and certification of new aircraft. | NASA/GRC/Jordan Salkin
Naval personnel conduct a training exercise in the ocean with a submarine surfaced, surrounded by inflatable boats. helicopters hover above, and a distant ship is visible through the mist.
Naval helicopter pilots from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 “Wildcards” fly over the Orion Crew Module Test Article (CMTA) with American flags after completing flight operations during an Artemis II mission simulation during NASA’s Underway Recovery Test 10 (URT-10) off the coast of San Diego. | Kenny Allen/NASA
Engineers in a large industrial facility work on assembling a spacecraft with various tools and equipment, surrounded by yellow platforms and metallic structures.
These photos show how technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans installed the second of four RS-25 engines onto the core stage for the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will help power NASA’s first crewed Artemis mission to the Moon. | NASA/Michael Democker
Close-up view of a rocket launch showing intense flames and smoke emitted from the engines against a dark background.
The Soyuz rocket is launched with Expedition 70 NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. | Bill Ingalls/NASA
A large nasa vacuum chamber stands open in a facility, with engineers in lab coats observing and working around it. the chamber door features the nasa logo.
Behind the Scenes of a video production shoot for “What’s Behind This Door”. | NASA/JSC/Robert Markowitz
Profile portrait of an astronaut wearing a white space suit with a uae flag on the arm, looking thoughtfully to the side against a dark background.
Hazzaa Al Mansoori Individual EMU Photo. | Bill Stafford/NASA
Four astronauts in orange nasa suits posing for a portrait against a dark background, three standing and one seated in front, holding a helmet.
NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen, the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon on Artemis II, the first crewed mission on NASA’s path to establishing a long-term presence at the Moon for science and exploration through Artemis.| Josh Valcarel/NASA
Two workers inspect large metallic ducts at an industrial plant. they wear high-visibility vests and hard hats, with tools and equipment scattered around the workspace.
The CPS controls operations used by Glenn Research Center’s wind tunnels, propulsion systems lab, engine components research lab, and compressor, turbine and combustor test cells. Used widely throughout the lab, it operates equipment such as exhausters, chillers, cooling towers, compressors, dehydrators, and other such equipment. | NASA/GRC/Jef Janis
Black and white image of the exterior of nasa's glenn research center at lewis field, featuring a large hangar with a curved roof and the nasa logo prominently displayed.
NASA Glenn Research Center. | Jef Janis/NASA/GRC
Engineers working on a large rocket engine, which is being installed horizontally in a high-tech industrial setting, surrounded by structural metal frameworks and safety platforms.
Technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have installed the first of four RS-25 engines on the core stage of the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will help power NASA’s first crewed Artemis mission to the Moon. | Michael Democker/NASA
A young child in an astronaut suit stands beside an adult man in a blue nasa jumpsuit, both smiling, in a park with trees in the background.
NASA astronaut Alvin Drew poses for a photo with guests during the White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 10, 2023, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. | Keegan Barber/NASA

Image credits: Photographs by NASA