Monday, May 12, 2014

Eye in the Sky

So I said to my coworker: "Hey, the ISS put cameras on the outside of it, so you can watch it live stream Earth."

"Is it boring?" she asked.

I thought about it. "On one hand, yes. On the other hand, you're watching EARTH from SPACE in real time. It's simultaneously amazing and boring, and that such a thing can be both at once is absolutely mind blowing." She thought about it as well, and concurred.

The link I provided is on the Johnson Space Center portion of the NASA web site. It's neat because it shows you what the International Space Station is streaming in one window, and then shows you where above Earth the ISS is as well; it shows you where on Earth is nighttime, what time it is, etc. There are four cameras it can swap between. The Johnson Space Center is in Houston, Texas, which is also (I believe) where Mission Control, Houston is. So "Houston, we've had a problem here" during the Apollo 13 mission? That's who those guys were talking to.

But call up the livestream, and look at it for a little while. Put your boredom away and let the wonderment creep in. You're not going to see baby animals, you (hopefully) won't see much happen at all. But at the same time? You are watching what is almost literally everything. You can see the real horizon, the glowing curve of the planet we all live on and have to come from. You can see the solar arrays of the ISS. And sometimes? You can see some lights down here, when it all grows dark.


  1. I got the gray screen when I clicked, but I will check again later. I agree, very cool!