You can now watch the Earth live — as viewed from space.
Nasa is live-streaming views of Earth from space captured by four commercial high-definition video cameras that were installed on the exterior of the International Space Station last month. There is no audio.
If you find the screen black, do not worry — the space station is likely on the earth’s night side. The station completes 1 orbit every 90 minutes, so you will not have to wait too long. If the image is gray, it means that communications with the ISS is not available or switching operations between cameras are taking place.
“The cameras are enclosed in temperature-specific housing and are exposed to the harsh radiation of space,” NASA officials said in a statement. The enclosure contains dry nitrogen at atmospheric pressure.
“Analysis of the effect of space on the video quality, over the time HDEV (high definition earth viewing) is operational, may help engineers decide which cameras are the best types to use on future missions,” the statement said.
The HDEV operates one camera at a time. The HDEV is designed so that when the system is initially powered on, after a 1-2 minute warm up period, the cameras are turned on one at a time in a repeating cycle.
The webcast of HD Earth video feed is also on space.com and will be accompanied by other live space broadcasts. The views of earth from space can be accessed at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload.