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: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Forfun/HDEV

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