VIENNA, 23 February (UN Information Service) – Astronaut Scott Kelly announced the final winner in the #whyspacematters photo competition today, an eight-month contest run by NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) that attracted more than 1,000 entries.
The competition, which was launched in June last year, aimed to highlight the importance of space for sustainable development on Earth. Participants were asked to take photographs and post them on Instagram to illustrate what space means to them in their daily life. Kelly, who is on a one-year mission on board of the International Space Station (ISS), chose a winner every month.

“It was a real pleasure and great honour to see the thriving cooperation between NASA and UNOOSA on our joint journey to raise awareness about #whyspacematters,” said UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo.

The winning photo for January shows the ISS in the night sky. According to the photographer, who is known as X. Brenza on Instagram, the ISS serves as the foremost representation of international scientific exploration and the picture illustrates cooperation in outer space activities. The ISS is a true accomplishment of humankind which can be seen by the naked eye on a starry night: “A floating, soaring dot of light – a testament to why space matters.”

“Our cooperation with NASA brought clear benefits,” said Ms. Di Pippo. “I am proud to say that this joint venture has contributed to raising awareness about the United Nations’ activities in the peaceful uses of outer space.” The UNOOSA Director thanked NASA, and astronaut Scott Kelly and his team on the ground in particular, for making the innovative collaboration possible.

Themes for the photographs during the competition included “humanitarian assistance”, “agriculture”, “communication”, “transportation” and “environment and climate change”.

The winners of the #whyspacematters competition can be found here:

For further information, please contact:

Markus Woltran
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5768
Email: markus.woltran[at]