Rotating around the earth approximately sixteen times each day, the International Space Station is the venue from which many astronauts have been able to capture incredible photographs of our Earth. Taking it to the next level though is a project from NASA called the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment.
Making use of multiple 720p video feeds as well as the ISS crew’s radio feed, this experiment is maintained by NASA in collaboration with development and operation by high school students. Only recently turned on, this experiment is planned to operate through October of 2015, where it will then go offline (NASA hasn’t revealed what the cameras will be used for afterward).
As noted by NASA over on the Ustream channel, the reason for this experiment is “to assess the effects of the space environment on the equipment and video quality which may help decisions about cameras for future missions.”
You can keep an eye on the feed below, but it’s well worth noting that it’s not always a jaw-dropping scene. Oftentimes the HDEV will lose contact and go offline, and if that’s not the case, oftentimes it’s only streaming the dark, sunless side of Earth, leaving you with pitch black feed. However, in between those moments, you will be able to catch a live glimpse of our planet like never before.
I don’t dare speak the words of Neil Armstrong, but this is certainly a small step towards a much larger goal of gaining a live, wide-angle view of this blue and green marble we live on.