Human Journey

Hi-Def Space Selfies Coming To Your Web Browser Soon

Space buffs can expect to to ogle stunning near-real-time Earth views anytime on their computers and mobile devices once new HD cameras are installed on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Coming soontake the ultimate selfie from space!  

Two high-definition cameras are on their way now to the International Space Station. There, they will aim to revolutionize how we view our planet and ourselves.

A Canadian-based company named UrtheCast will offer the world’s first near-live HD video and imagery of Earth from space, using the new cameras. Launched aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Monday, the two eyes in the sky will be installed on the underbelly of the space station over the next few months. Expectations are that space buffs everywhere with an internet connection will see the first live streaming-video broadcast from the cameras on the company’s web portal early next year.

One of the cameras will offer sharp five-meter resolution stills of a broad 25-mile-wide (40 kilometer) swath of the globe, with pictures taken anywhere between 51°N and 51°S latitude (from England to Chile). The other camera can be pointed at 150 specific targets of interest per day. It has the capability of generating video with super-sharp Ultra-HD or 4K  quality, and offers one-meter resolution.

The crisp images will allow users to see everything from storm systems to vehicles, and even large crowds.

“Look down at the clouds as they roll past landscapes and bodies of water. Watch the sunrise in one country and the sunset in another or view time-lapses of your favorite places and watch how they evolve over time,” read statements on the company’s website.

 Because about 200 gigabytes of image data are expected to be downloaded to ground stations daily, it is important to keep in mind that the images web surfers will see on their screens are in near real-timemeaning that there will be delays of a 45 minutes to 2 hours between the time that the image is actually captured and when it is displayed on your mobile device or home computer.

While much of the visual content is expected to be freely accessible, UrtheCast expects to market some of the more specialized imagery to paying corporate and government clients.  For instance they have sold some image rights to a United Nations program that will track natural and human-made disasters.

Once solely in the realm of national security agencies, this kind of hi-def space imagery now has ready buyers in the forestry, mining, or agriculture industries, which have interests ranging from monitoring pipelines to keeping an eye on pests.

Everyday folks are going to be able to go on the website and subscribe for free to directly obtain custom images from the camera. Simply tell them where you live and they will email you a notification when the ISS with the cameras will be passing over your selected target location.

Think of it as your chance to capture your own grand-scale selfie.


Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.
  • marianne bezzina

    awesome…I’m so very looking forward to this. well done and thanks so much for this opportunity.

  • martin mckinlay

    this will be amazing for amateur star gazers and will be amazing for beautiful and spectacular scenes thank you nasa :}

  • Frano

    It will be very interesting… l love this game…

  • shitu musa

    very good nasa

  • Jim

    This will be the greatest stalking/spying device.

  • Brenda B

    This is so exciting!!! 🙂

  • Hazel

    Can’t wait to see this! Great Stuff!!!

  • Andy

    @Martin, NASA is not to thank. Thank the Russians!

  • Piergiacomo Bianco

    Penso a quanto sia spettacolare il Mondo visto … da lassù!!! Grazie x questo stupendo viaggio e… ben fatto! 😉

  • Gilbert

    a next level of google earth?… amazing.. exploring the world in real HD images and more closer…in real time!

  • Nick Nemati

    lol revolutionize

  • Pelegren Cardino

    this would be great as we can possibly track down criminals using this planetary CCTV… this is extremely amazing….

  • tom repik

    Many thanks to UrtheCast, Roscosmos, & the ISS teams for providing such a wonderful resource! It’s refreshing to see that much of the content will be free.

  • Beverly Heacock

    I have always loved looking at the universe since a child. This is so wonderful to know. Thank you nasa.

  • Beverly Heacock

    So happy to know this is coming. Thank you.

  • Clovis Souza

    Wonderful image, I hope soon we can see our Planet from Space!

  • Antonio Luis E. Kilayko

    It’s best always to learn latest. Salamat.

  • Antonio Luis E. Kilayko

    Great, now, we can tract ourselves in our homes the typhoons hitting the Philippines.

  • Domingos Saude

    I thin this will improve the actions of the global Big Brother. This will be a strong instrument for the spyes. and for government repressions,Like all tools, they can be very useful, but if people use them in the wrong way, it’s bad. Recen history, tells me not to trust in human being, on this kind of matters.

  • Robert Bell

    This may be – finally – the information that earth friendly people can use to save this beautiful planet from the destruction that our politicians have wrought. I do hope that this may be the information that we need to promote best practices for our home.

  • Delia

    I can’t wait to satisfy my curiousity. Thanks!

  • Matt

    UrtheCast CEO Wade Larson spoke at TEDxWaterloo

  • N. Seshu Kumar

    With help of Pol(lu)iticians, the smugglers, industrialists & others are destructing the earth, GOD’s creation & property, for their personal benefits & to develop their business as well money only, but, they forgotten that they are damaging the lives / comforts of future generations (gifted by GOD) which is being enjoyed by them. No right / eligibility was given to them to destruct. None of their properties or belongings, except MERIT & sin, will be brought forwarded to their next lives. They will have to face any type of punishments to be given by GOD in terms of rectifications to (save) earth by having birth in their next lives from insects to agitators ! No other way to them to get rid of the result of their sin !

  • ejvor nordin

    Precis vad jag väntat på länge,bättre bilder Tack så mycket.

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