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Space photography will soon reach a whole new level thanks to Michael Najjar — the man determined to become the first civilian artist in space.

The photographer has had his mind set on a space voyage since he summited Mount Aconcagua — the world’s second largest peak — and a plane flew right overhead. Because 22,841 feet wasn’t high enough — Najjar wanted to go higher.

“It was completely surreal,” Najjar wrote in his photo book. “And at this moment I thought, you’ve gotta go one step further; you’ve gotta go into space.”

Najjar hopes to leave Earth on Virgin Galactic’s maiden voyage later this year or next. He’s been training for the excursion since 2012, and has been documenting his experience through the photo series titled ‘Outer Space.’ The series combines photography and computer-generated effects to create stunning images of Najjar’s training as well as advances in the world of space technology.

But Najjar quickly learned how difficult it is to take photos under the extreme environment of space — and he hasn’t even left the Earth’s atmosphere yet. His training at German Aerospace Center DLR included a stratospheric flight in a MIG-29 jet at almost twice the speed of sound. He lost color vision and almost blacked out twice — far from ideal conditions for a photographer.

But quitting hasn’t even crossed his mind. He’s determined to make it to space and to enter a future where kids who grow up dreaming of space travel could actually one day leave the ground.



Featured Photo – Wired

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