• December 27, 2013

Pictures We Love: A Selfie in Space and a Trip to the Bottom of the Sea

Alexa Keefe

National Geographic’s Proof blog invited the photography and design teams of National Geographic magazine to look back through the hundreds of photographs from the over 75 stories published in 2013 and select one photo that spoke to their heart, intrigued them, inspired awe, made them smile—in short, to choose their favorite photo from this past year. Over the next several days we’ll bring you a round-up of the breathtaking, the touching, the extraordinary, the imperfect, and the beautiful.

James Cameron designed his own sub, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, to take him down to the Mariana Trench.
Voyage to the Deep, June 2013
Photograph by Mark Thiessen
Bill Douthitt, Senior Editor, Special Editions

Being a science fiction geek, this picture of a glowing mysterious craft holds natural appeal for me. Though it may look like a fanciful spaceship, the mission of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE is quite real—to reach the deepest part of the ocean. Mark Thiessen’s brooding depiction of Jim Cameron’s one-man submarine is a perfect way to show this vehicle dedicated to exploring the unknown.

Yet the picture came about quite by accident. During a night test dive, the sub surfaced some distance away from the recovery ship—a situation that took place only once during the expedition. Mark was in the water and realized that the brilliant lights of the ship as it approached to recover the sub would highlight the craft in an exceptionally dramatic way. He quickly swam to the front of the sub and then dove below it, waiting to make this picture, which became the lead to the story.

After taking its first scoops of Martian soil, Curiosity posed for a self-portrait. Stitched together from 63 images, it shows the entire rover and even the imprints in the sand of its scoop and wheels—but not the seven-foot robotic arm that was holding the camera.
Field Trip to Mars, July 2013
Photograph by NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS)
Elaine Bradley, Senior Design Editor

Since 1997, NASA has been sending rovers to Mars to document the soil, dig up rocks, and take pictures of the Martian landscape. But never before has a rover managed to take photos of itself. On August 8, 2012, the aptly named Curiosity touched down and made this ultimate selfie. Stitched together from 63 images, it shows the entire rover and even the imprints in the sand of its scoop and wheels—but not the seven-foot robotic arm that was holding the camera.

As we all know, a self-portrait is not a unique achievement. But to take one from 34.8 million miles away is extraordinary.

View these photographs and more in our interactive Year in Review.

There are 103 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Soumyadev Sanyal
    April 27, 2014

    the shots are very appropriate at the right time

  2. sagar panda
    January 15, 2014

    Thanks u all…human level challenge his level d way of imagine …superb

  3. Anton
    January 15, 2014


  4. amritanshu prasad
    January 15, 2014

    these pics are wonderful

  5. Mohammad
    January 14, 2014


  6. Robert Douglas
    January 13, 2014

    To view these pictures, and marvel at the magnificent universe in which we live, is a poignantly spiritual experience. No need to try to bring the idea of a God into it really; the existence of the universe is its own answer.

  7. Hassan sardasht
    January 10, 2014

    I am astronomer.l am from iran.

  8. Yasmin Ara Ahmed
    January 9, 2014

    Thanks National Geography for this arrangement.

  9. Migdalia Torres
    January 8, 2014

    Truly an amazing and beautiful site too see. If it wasn’t for these Pictures we would never know what MARS looks like. Now, I wonder if it’s livable like they say and Water will soon be found. ~ Mastic, New York 11950

  10. Adel Alkhuzam
    January 8, 2014


  11. MARYANNE O’Neill
    January 7, 2014

    Remarkable. So beautiful and clear

  12. AbdurRasheed
    January 7, 2014

    It is ultimate proof that human blessed by Allah for superior creation of universe.

    January 7, 2014


  14. Tangonan,rodiric r
    January 7, 2014

    Explore is my desire!

  15. Giovanna E.
    January 7, 2014

    Discover is the quickest way to find God…..

  16. williams
    January 7, 2014

    Its very amazing, thank God for giving man such wonder full talents

  17. Jonathan Esin
    January 7, 2014

    Simply Amazing!!

  18. nurzhan
    January 7, 2014

    Thank you

  19. juan mayor
    January 6, 2014

    A mi también me llama la atención de que no aparezca el brazo que debería verse salir desde el robot.

  20. Kat.
    January 6, 2014

    Wouldn’t Carl Sagan love this!

  21. Jon Terry
    January 6, 2014

    I’ve always loved anything man did in space that photo on Mars,amazing! From deepest to the furthest, Man can do any thing, and we will never stop.

  22. ibsteve2u
    January 6, 2014

    Why is it that photographs that reveal the wonders of the world – the bigness of our universe – inevitably attract both those who wonder and those who seek only to reveal the smallness of their minds?

  23. Reza Najdi
    January 6, 2014

    your activity is highly appreciate . Happy New Year .

  24. frankcha
    January 6, 2014

    great- wonderful-very interesting

  25. Tomasa Vázquez
    January 6, 2014

    I love the work of National Geografy.

    January 6, 2014

    A memorable reminiscence for a century

  27. musa susanto
    January 6, 2014

    thumbs up!

  28. munshi lal
    January 6, 2014

    nice &challenging photos.

  29. bob challiss
    January 6, 2014

    insightful and thought provoking

  30. Ignacio Jiménez
    January 6, 2014

    Humanity at it`s best

  31. F. Bastaman
    January 6, 2014

    Amazing. . . !

  32. Tertia Somerville
    January 6, 2014

    Its amazing. Puts one in that moment to share some thing special that the eyes did see and
    share with the world. Inspired selfie to do more photography.

  33. chitrhabhanu thekkedath
    January 6, 2014

    The photos of Mars lander is marvelous. The human ingenuity behind this rover is marvelous. These creations of man should be appreciated.

  34. Raju
    January 6, 2014

    Excellent one – Curious to see more from curiosity

    January 6, 2014

    A self photograph of the Curiosity rover? That’s cute ! The photo of the deep submarine is eerie

  36. Bruce
    January 5, 2014


  37. KP
    January 5, 2014

    I love all about space and these pictures are really great!!!!

  38. samson
    January 5, 2014


  39. Diana
    January 5, 2014

    Nat/Geo ALWAYS has the best photos. I’ve been a member for many years and they always blow me away with their photography! Thanks!!

  40. ernesto mosquera
    January 5, 2014

    Awesome. It is an amazing and record-breaking achievement

  41. Ashraf Dowla
    January 5, 2014

    Transformation of Science into Art

  42. Phillip Porter
    January 5, 2014

    spectacular a wonderful world

  43. Harry Smith
    January 5, 2014

    I won’t be signing up for a trip to Mars!

  44. Peter Lakingu
    January 5, 2014

    Beyond natural boundaries, (the belly of the sea and the space) spectacular views.

  45. Iqbal Singh
    January 5, 2014

    Incredible moment’s reflections. This is how Supreme Lordship bestows His grace to those who dare exploration.

  46. Ir. Wisoot SRIRUENG
    January 5, 2014

    Amazing Picture in the World

  47. ted
    January 5, 2014

    human dreams and dreams come true this is a power of God to create human like this ..

    January 5, 2014


  49. Gertruda
    January 5, 2014

    So exciting

  50. Pablo Hernandez
    January 5, 2014

    AMAIZING. Thank you very much.

  51. June Haigh
    January 5, 2014

    Love all of these remarkable photos

  52. jeffrey linn
    January 5, 2014

    Truly inspires me to see we are not only looking without, but within as well. The human race never ceases to amaze me, to the lengths they’ll go in the thirst for knowledge. We always want more, and it’s thing like this that get us there.

  53. abdul agonga
    January 5, 2014

    Captivating. Results of a switched on mind. Thanks

  54. CJ
    January 5, 2014

    What an achievement, just think of the time delay from here to there!!

  55. RokShox
    January 5, 2014

    Why isn’t the “seven foot robotic arm” attached to the rover?

  56. Ian Wotherspoon
    January 5, 2014

    Totally amazing. Well done everybody at NASA you people will never cease to amaze me.

  57. Dennis
    January 5, 2014

    Man’s accomplishments are amazing, but they’ll never outdo God’s!

  58. Rene Borsei
    January 5, 2014

    Great pics and work you all do. Keep the excellent work coming. I learn every day. Thank you

  59. Floyd
    January 5, 2014

    Perfect illustrations of the triumph of human endeavor. Inspiring

  60. Theodore Salafia
    January 5, 2014


  61. lee ann foeppel
    January 5, 2014

    These pictures are amazing

  62. Parth Dave
    January 5, 2014

    Unforgettable step for menkind

  63. Kacey
    January 5, 2014

    6 feet away from a silent hunter of the north. Foolish that a man would risk his life for a picture. The Polar bear was probably sizing him up for a meal. Those beautiful bears are man hunters especially now that their populations are up to around 25,000 from 5,000. They’re not endangered.

  64. Chandrakant Pawr
    January 5, 2014

    Amazing.I like

  65. John Salmond
    January 5, 2014

    A Picture Tells A Thousand Worlds

  66. hendrik joris
    January 5, 2014

    fantastische beelden

  67. Raul Fernando Dreher
    January 5, 2014

    Very beautiful Site! I like this very much!

  68. aana88
    January 5, 2014


  69. Joan Carfora
    January 5, 2014


  70. Harv Shore
    January 5, 2014

    Is that footprints on the left border of the pictures?

  71. P.J.JOSHI
    January 5, 2014

    incredible this thing…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. Marielle Guenette
    January 5, 2014

    I love National Geographic, I find it of top quality with it`s photographers and writers.

  73. kedar pandit
    January 5, 2014

    nice i like

  74. Ashwin Anam
    January 5, 2014

    Its Great one.

  75. Paul LeBlanc
    January 5, 2014

    Formidable, tout ce que l’homme est permis d’accomplir… du plus haut au plus profond … Merci é Dieu…qui nous permet de découvrir dans son univers…

  76. MaryAnn Burbank
    January 5, 2014

    Always the best and most unusual photos from National Geographic

  77. dilip kumar dutta
    January 5, 2014

    Very touching, on the field of Mars the tyre marks and 20000 Leagues under the sea is great nostalgia of childhood.

  78. Joann Firsdon
    January 5, 2014

    I have seen other shots of the moon, this one is boring in comparison.

    January 5, 2014

    simply befuddled

  80. Fred Arioli
    January 5, 2014

    These successful missions to Mars gives one a sense of pride. Bring on the Martians!

  81. Salah Aboud
    January 5, 2014

    it’s greatly amazing. I like it. Thank you NASA

  82. sigrid
    January 5, 2014

    Is it all just about things?

  83. Tady Saczkowski
    January 5, 2014

    Absolutely amazing to observe this photo

  84. Syed m shahid
    January 5, 2014

    Good work National Geographic pupel

  85. herman
    January 5, 2014


  86. Joseph Taylor
    January 5, 2014

    Rare glimpses into exotic other worlds. Simply Awe-Inspiring!!!

  87. Erkan
    January 5, 2014

    Look in to the camera of the rover very closely. Mirrors as if there is a man.

  88. Glenn Clarke
    January 5, 2014

    From the deepest ocean to deepest space – does man’s curiosity have no bounds?

  89. Frida Lutty Alfaro
    January 5, 2014

    Gracias por poder conocer el mundo

  90. myers jackson
    January 5, 2014

    inspirational to say the least !

  91. lily
    January 5, 2014

    thank natgeo your pic are the best way to show the world, the space and all we want to see!!!

  92. Jeffrey Portman
    January 5, 2014

    Wow. Amazing.

  93. Thomas Lilienfeld
    January 4, 2014

    I look back often at this Picture, and still marvel at the technology that allow us to arrive so far away, and send those impressive pictures.

  94. t shambashiva heggade
    December 31, 2013

    good touching.

  95. Ray
    December 28, 2013

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea tiil today…..fantastic!

  96. P K Raja
    December 28, 2013

    An Amazing feat. Gives us a view of “on the field” and “in action” of curiosity.

  97. nuradin ahmed
    December 28, 2013

    very touching

  98. mohamedouassaki
    December 27, 2013

    me gusta vuestra envbientos

  99. salah hamdy
    December 27, 2013

    its good

  100. Mark J. Workun
    December 27, 2013

    I love this

  101. alfredo
    December 27, 2013

    increible pero cierto woww

  102. Judy Chen
    December 27, 2013


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