Astronauts are becoming more and more social media savvy – and the images they’re sending back are literally out-of-this-world spectacular.

Canadian Chris Hadfield pioneered the “social media from space” phenomenon with a social media blitz and that famous cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which is back up on You Tube and has received more than 24 million views.

Others like European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst have discovered that Vine’s six-second limit is perfect for time lapse photography from the International Space Station.

This compilation of Gerst’s timelapses is just drop-dead gorgeous: 

And here’s American astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeting just prior to his team’s November re-entry to Earth from the International Space Station: 

Given substantial cuts to space agency funding in the last few years, social media is serving as a cheap and effective means for astronauts to communicate the benefits of space exploration and its awe inspiring surrounds to an Earth-based audience.

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