NASA has a media library full of images, sounds, and video you’re free to use however you’d like, and you can access that massive library for free.
NASA has always offered some content to the public, but it recently made its entire library available through its website. There you can search, just like you might on Google, for something and instantly pull up all of the images, video, and audio files NASA has available associated with that term.
For instance, a search for Pluto brings up 543 different results including a number of pictures, nineteen videos, and nine audio files. Most results also include a small description with each video, photo, or clip so you know what you’re looking at.
If you’re looking for something specific, search results can also be narrowed down by year. The oldest content available on NASA’s site is from 1920, while the most recent content is from this year. A slider lets you select your ideal window of time for your search, or you can leave it wide-open to see everything NASA has.
The best part is you’re free to use the collection how you want. Here are the rules for non-commercial use: “NASA content – images, audio, video, and computer files used in the rendition of 3-dimensional models, such as texture maps and polygon data in any format – generally are not copyrighted. You may use this material for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits, computer graphical simulations and Internet Web pages. This general permission extends to personal Web pages.”
If you want to use the content commercially it’s not quite as easy and requires contacting the multimedia division of NASA in Washington, D.C.
If nothing else the collection is a lot of fun to browse through. Who knows, you might even find your next desktop background in the process.