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Quirky Wallpaper Series: Random NASA Wallpaper Script

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

‘Quirky Wallpaper’ is a short series of posts about different types of wallpapers for Gnome/Ubuntu. These range from having a real-time earth displayed as your wallpaper to an entirely animated desktop!

Random NASA Wallpaper

This script downloads a random wallpaper from NASA’s ‘Astronomy Picture Of The Day’ archive and sets it as your background – all with one click!

And when you’re bored of the one you’ve got, click it again to automatically get a new one.


Downloaded wallpapers are saved in nasa-wallpaper folder in your home folder – so if you fall in love with one it’s there to keep!

Download: –
You can grab the script from: –

Extract the script and move it somewhere where you’re not likely not accidentally delete it!

Right click the script and choose Properties.

Navigate to the Permissions tab and check ‘Allow Executing File As A Program’.
You can now double click the script and choose ‘run’ to change your wallpaper.

Create a menu entry
An easier way to use the script is to create a menu entry for it. This way you can summon and run it via gnome-do and bypass the need to choose ‘run’ each time you want to change your wallpaper.


  • menu editor

from the

  • System > Preferences

menu. Or by right click the Ubuntu Menu and choosing

  • edit menus

Decide which menu you would like to have the entry placed in and click on it. I’ve placed mine in ‘Accessories’.

  • New Item

and enter a name for the launcher. I’ve named mine ‘Nasa Wallpaper’.
Next to the ‘Command’ field select the browse button and navigate to where you have the script saved. Choose it by clicking ‘Open’.

If you want to add an icon simply click on the ‘Spring’ icon and choose a new icon. I’ve used the following .png as mine: –