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.