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The Internet is in love with this astronaut’s NASA portrait

One astronaut captured the perfect memory.


Selena Larson


Posted on Jan 31, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 3:45 pm CDT

It’s official: Dogs make all photos better.

Retired NASA astronaut Leland D. Melvin, who has spent more than 565 hours in space, had some best friends here on Earth that didn’t want to get left out of an important photo. Most people likely recognize the official astronaut portrait—a man or woman wearing an orange suit, sitting stoically, with the American flag in the background—but Melvin’s was a bit different.

His official portrait included two furry friends, Jake and Scout.

The astronaut’s photo went viral after Missouri newspaper reporter Adam Aton tweeted it out. Naturally, a number of people were curious how Melvin could include his dogs in the special moment; the astronaut confirmed he had to sneak his dogs into the NASA studio for the shoot.

Jake and Scout seem to be the best of friends, and, according to National Geographic, Melvin had Jake first before Scout wandered into his yard.

The photos are quite heartwarming, and Melvin has posted a few more on his Instagram. The dogs were able to sit still at least for a bit when the photo was taken.

The owner of the now-viral photo of the best astronaut portrait ever is taking it in stride, and it inspired others to share photos of their pups.

Melvin is no longer going on space flights. Instead, he’s inspiring the next generation of astronauts and scientists; served as the co-chair on the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Task Force; and is the host of the show Child Genius on Lifetime.

Even though Jake and Scout are no longer with Melvin, the pair will live in infamy as the pups that launched the astronaut’s photo into Internet stardom. And they’ve reminded us all that even NASA astronauts have a soft spot when it comes to puppy love.

Photo via Web Summit/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 31, 2015, 4:31 pm CST