Watching The Earth From Space, Live, From The ISS

Two web cameras will be mounted to the Space Station by the end of 2013, so we can all say "I can see my house from here!"

Urthecast says that two high-resolution cameras, one for video and one for stills, will be launched into space in October on a Russian rocket and bolted to the International Space Station's hull by the end of the month. Then, a few months later, they'll be turned on and start streaming content live to the Earth.

There will actually be a delay of about an hour before the images are shared with the world via Urthecast's site—due to the tricky issue of getting images transmitted down to the ground.

The imaging systems have about a one-meter resolution, which means they won't be able to see people—even cars will be just a few pixels across (far poorer resolution than spy satellites can see, for example). But, the cameras will be able to see things like crowds, stadium shows, and potentially even news events like plane crashes and floods.

In effect, the feed will be a very public eye on the Earth that can potentially drive conversations about news, environmental matters, and even political actions—in a very unique way. The UN plans to use the feeds for crisis monitoring.

Pictures from the space station, taken by hand, have often captured the world's imagination, such as NASA's amazing Black Marble imagery. The most recent ISS crews have also racked up an extraordinary number of Earth observation photos, such as the image of New York above.

Would you watch live images from space? Will certain governments be very afraid of the content?

[Image: New York by astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the ISS]

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2 Comments

  • XTOFINOOIC

    Google earth gives me resolution as goodas 6 inches! of course it isn't time current or anywhere near as time current as this will be. 
    I'm looking fwd to seeing the photos and videos. 

  • revamadison

    Of course, some people see evil and horror in the sun shining, let alone photos of their property or a few digitized blips where their car may be sitting.  Maybe we can use it to prove to them that those "black helicopters" are not UN troops fixing to take over Mississippi (I always like to spell that).  but again, they will try to prove otherwise, just because.   Can you even imagine the Russians being involved in photographing and publishing such information about the "homeland" 20 or so years ago?  How times have changed.