In his State of the Union speech, US President Barack Obama had some advice for an astronaut who is about to spend a year in space.

Obama said: "Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energised space programme that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, captain - and make sure to Instagram it."

Kelly will have plenty of time to try out all of the Instagram filters – he begins his stay on the Space Station in March 2015, returning to Earth in Spring 2016.

His stay will be the longest anyone has ever spent in space. It will help Nasa study how a lengthy space voyage such as a trip to Mars would affect the human body. His identical twin brother Mark, a retired astronaut, will remain on Earth to receive medical tests before, during and after his brother's mission.

Over the last year, the crew of the International Space Station have been Instagramming spectacular views of Earth. IBTimes UK presents some of the most striking images. Follow ISS on Instagram for more.

The International Space Station... our first Instagram photo.

A photo posted by International Space Station (@iss) on

"I will never tire of this view." #Reid This picture of Earth illustrates the sense of oneness of the world and equality we all aspire to. Fifty years ago today, on July 2, 1964, one of the last remaining legal barriers to equal opportunity in America was toppled when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the most sweeping civil rights legislation since the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in such areas as voting, public restaurants, employment and education on the bases of such characteristics as race, color, religion, national origin and gender. It was a pivotal moment in the nation’s on-going struggle to right the wrongs of the past, and it ushered in an era of diversity and inclusion that in the last half-century has literally transformed the face of America, and the face of NASA. Join us as we strive to “build a more perfect Union”, both in the USA and throughout the world. NASA PAO Photo credit: NASA/Wiseman 931_3588 #nasa #nasajsc #spacestation #internationalspacestation #explore #exploration #spacegram #exp40 #earth #civilrights #equality

A photo posted by International Space Station (@iss) on

“One of my favorite pastimes ‐ taking pictures of Earth.” #Swanny On the International Space Station, the astronauts have a wonderful panoramic Earth viewing area called the Cupola. Inside this dome‐shaped module contains a large selection of camera equipment to capture images. Several DSLR CMOS cameras, over 20 different lenses from 8 mm to 800 mm, numerous UV/IR filters, an infrared camera, and several video camcorders. The prosumer‐grade equipment has slight firmware and lubricant modifications. The cameras are subject to permanent sensor pixel loss due to cosmic particle radiation (primarily gamma rays). After about a year, the images they produce look like they are covered with electronic snow, and the cameras are routinely replaced. Recent astronaut photography is available on several social media accounts including: Facebook/ISS, Twitter/Astro_Reid, and Twitter/ISS_Research. NASA PAO Photo credit: NASA 265B5064 #nasa #nasajsc #spacestation #internationalspacestation #iss #explore #exploration #spacegram #Exp40 #camera #photography

A photo posted by International Space Station (@iss) on

ISS032-E-025258 (5 Sept. 2012) --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, Expedition 32 flight engineer, uses a digital still camera to expose a photo of his helmet visor during the mission’s third session of extravehicular activity (EVA). During the six-hour, 28-minute spacewalk, Hoshide and NASA astronaut Sunita Williams (visible in the reflections of Hoshide’s helmet visor), flight engineer, completed the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) that was hampered last week by a possible misalignment and damaged threads where a bolt must be placed. They also installed a camera on the International Space Station’s robotic arm, #Canadarm2. The bright sun is visible at left. #NASA #JAXA #EVA #SpaceStation #InternationalSpaceStation #spacewalk #selfie #spaceselfie #Exp32 #ISS #ISScrew #outofthisworld

A photo posted by International Space Station (@iss) on

“Hi from the cupola!” #AstroButch

A photo posted by International Space Station (@iss) on