The View From Up There, Down Here

HDEV View from ISS to Central California
HDEV View Northward to Central California

HDEV View from Mexico Northward to Central California Credits: NASA

Completed flight assembly of the HDEV

The completed flight assembly of the HDEV unit before it was launched to the ISS in April 2014.    Credits: NASA

The View From Up There, Down Here.

When many people saw the first stunning photos of the fragile blue marble of Earth from space, it changed their outlook of humanity. It was a singular moment in time when people around the world were watching and looking toward the future as NASA began to turn small steps into giant leaps.

As we continue our recent Earth Day celebration, an investigation on the International Space Station that provides unprecedented panoramic views of our home will celebrate its first year in space.

The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) investigation sent four commercially available cameras housed in a single unit to the station last year on the third SpaceX resupply mission. One year ago, April 30, 2014, a robotic arm extracted the unit from the SpaceX trunk, attaching it to the exterior of the orbiting laboratory, and activated the cameras — transmitting the mesmerizing views of Earth.

The view switches between the four fixed cameras and streams live online along with a real-time map to track the location of the station for anyone to watch their home planet and enjoy the same view experienced by space station crew members. Since the cameras began broadcasting a live stream a year ago, the number of views is approaching 50 million — attesting to the popularity of the project.

The primary purpose of the project is not, however, just to share amazing images of Earth.

“The investigation has become multi-purpose for us,” said Susan Runco, principal investigator for HDEV at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We are testing the resiliency of long-term exposure of the cameras to space, but in making this live streaming video available for anyone to watch anytime, I think we remind people of just how beautiful our home is and that there are humans on this orbiting platform right now, living and working off the Earth, for the Earth.”

See the HDEV Live Streaming Video on USTREAM also at:

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ISAL Provides ISS External Survey Report for Expeditions 39 & 40

Our Image Science & Analysis Laboratory (ISAL) team provided a report on a survey of the external surfaces on the ISS for Expeditions 39 & 40. This report outlines any potential area of interest for the respective hardware owners. For more information the ISAL’s imagery science & analysis capabilities, see

Dr. Eric Christiansen receives Rotary Stellar Award

EricC_lrg3Dr. Eric Christiansen is the NASA lead for Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) protection. He has developed and patented low-weight and highly effective MMOD shields used on the International Space Station (ISS), inflatable modules, Stardust and other spacecraft. He is responsible for NASA MMOD risk assessments supported by hypervelocity impact tests that determine high-risk areas of the spacecraft which are then the focus of risk reduction efforts. He has assessed MMOD risk to Shuttle, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)/Orion and other NASA reentry vehicles which are covered with thermal protection system (TPS) materials. His work led to adopting operational techniques to reduce MMOD risk to NASA spacecraft, such as selecting low-risk attitudes/flight orientations, and using TPS inspection/repair prior to reentry to mitigate MMOD risk. He helped develop MMOD hardened radiator panels for ISS and Shuttle. He is currently working on technologies to integrate impact damage detection and location sensors into NASA MMOD shields, and to incorporate other functions into MMOD shields such as thermal and radiation protection.

AwardOn April 24, 2015, Dr. Eric Christiansen received a Rotary Stellar Award at the 2015 Rotary National Awards for Space Achievement.  This award recognizes Dr. Christiansen’s many years of outstanding leadership of hypervelocity impact testing and technology development to improve crew and spacecraft safety from both micrometeoroid and orbital debris.

For more information on the Hypervelocity Impact Technology work being conducted by NASA_ARES visit:

Petrologists Conducting Experiments to Better Understand the Distribution of Volatile Elements During Formation of Terrestrial Planets

Our experimental petrologists are conducting high pressure and high temperature experiments to better understand the distribution of volatile elements between primordial liquid cores and mantles during the formation of the terrestrial planets. To learn more about our research, visit