5 March 2013
Last updated at 04:55 ET
On 19 December 2012, Canadian astronaut Cdr Chris Hadfield took off aboard the Soyuz TMA-07M on his third trip into orbit. His first was 17 years ago, when he flew on the space shuttle Atlantis to the Mir space station. He was the first Canadian to undertake a spacewalk and to operate his country's major contribution to the shuttle - its robotic arm, or Canadarm.
Currently living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as flight engineer on Expedition 34 and preparing to be commander on Expedition 35, he has been sharing his daily experiences via posts on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.
His stunning photographs offer us a unique glimpse of our planet and the scientific work undertaken by the crew.
His awe-inspiring images are generally accompanied by details of his day or a thought about what he witnesses. “The green Aussie lake somehow reminds me of a haggis,” he muses.
According to the Canadian Space Agency, many astronauts say one of the most relaxing things to do in space is to look out the window and stare at the universe and the Earth.
Cdr Hadfield recently took part in a web chat from the ISS. "It looks like a carpet of countless tiny perfect unblinking lights in endless velvet, with the Milky Way as a glowing area of paler texture," he wrote.
Cdr Hadfield replied to queries ranging from how space smells - the "airlock smells like ozone, or gunpowder", to how astronauts shave with bits of hair floating all around them - "just wipe it on a cloth every time".
One of the questions was about weightlessness, and Cdr Hadfield wrote: "Simply fly - to push off and glide magically to the other end of the station. It makes me smile to myself, every time."
"The purpose of all of this is to connect with you and allow you to experience a bit more directly what life is like living aboard an orbiting research vessel," wrote the astronaut.
"Arid fingers of sand-blasted rock look like they’re barely holding on against the hot Saharan wind."
“You hear all about the man in the Moon, but what about the man in Patagonia?"
Cdr Hadfield said Australia looked "coolest", calling the colours and textures of the Outback "severely artistic".
In a January tweet, he said: “Undoubtedly one of the coolest space sights on Earth is the Richat Structure of Mauritania.”
“If you give wind and sand enough time together, they create art.”
"The full Moon rises over the only planet we have ever called home." You can view more of Chris Hadfield's photos on twitter.com @Cmdr_Hadfield