When I was a child, I always dreamed about watching Earth from the space. Back in the 1980s, we were almost sure that around year 2000, the space travel would be so common. Remember TV shows like “Space: 1999”. Unfortunately, the space race lost its momentum during the 1990s and 2000s.
But thanks to the Internet and computer science, we all able to see the earth from the space. And live! And HD! 24 hours a day (the feed will sometimes go down as the signal switches between the cameras – the screen is grey when the cameras are down)!
You can watch the live stream below:
The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment consists of four cameras that have been attached outside of the ISS – International Space Station.
It is hard to see when the International Space Station is on the dark side of our planet, but be patient, you’ll be at the sunny side in a few minutes (Orbital period of the ISS is 92.69 minutes). Its average speed is 7.66 kilometers per second (27,600 km/h; 17,100 mph).
Read more on NASA web site: International Space Station updates
- While the HDEV collects beautiful images of the Earth from the ISS, the primary purpose of the experiment is an engineering one: monitoring the rate at which HD video camera image quality degrades when exposed to the space environment (mainly from cosmic ray damage) and verify the effectiveness of the design of the HDEV housing for thermal control.
- The four cameras of the HDEV experiment are oriented in different directions and with different views relative to the ISS travel direction. They are in positioned, 1 looking forward, 1 looking nearly straight down, and 2 looking back. This provides several different viewing angles to the viewer.
- The cameras are programmed to cycle from one camera to the next, and only one camera can work at a time. As they cycle, each camera must turn off and the next camera turn on before the HD video starts, taking about 8 to 10 seconds to change. Through this cycling, comparable data can be collected on each camera; while also providing, as a bonus, different Earth viewing perspectives.
- The University of Bonn in partnership with the German Space Agency (DLR) is implementing the “Columbus Eye” program based on the HDEV streaming video. A web page is in place (http://columbuseye.uni-bonn.de/ in German) that incorporates the HDEV UStream video and describes the Columbus Eye project, which will leverage ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst educational activities in space.