Watch Live as Astronauts Install Live-Streaming Earth Cameras on the International Space Station

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 27 2013 12:13 PM

Astronauts Are Installing a "Nearly Live Google Earth," And You Can Watch Them Now

99. EARTH INTRODUCTION
First view of Earth’s south polar ice cap, taken from Apollo 17, December 1972.

Courtesy NASA/Johnson Space Center and Mike Gentry

It won't be long before you can download video of Earth from hundreds of miles above, thanks to Canadian company UrtheCast, which is providing a camera currently being installed by a pair of Russian astronauts outside of the International Space Station. According to George Tyc, Chief Technology Officer of UrtheCast, the camera will function as a "nearly live Google Earth," featuring continuously refreshed video of interesting areas where interesting events are going on, showing you what is changing, what is going on."

Though NASA is live-streaming the installation, it has no part in the activity, as Universe Today reported last month—this is an exclusive endeavor between UrtheCast and Russia's Rocket and Space Corporation Energia. The goal, as Tyc explained, is to enhance social media experiences and provide individuals with more access to Earth video data, particularly in the event of natural disasters. UrtheCast will provide basic video imagery to anyone with Internet for free, and charge a fee for video requests of a specific target. UrtheCast plans to start streaming "in early 2014."

Astronauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, who began the installation at 8 AM, are live streaming via cameras located on their helmets, which you can check out below. (Mashable reports that the former is wearing helmet camera 20, while the latter is donning camera 18.) The entire spacewalk is expected to take about seven hours.

Advertisement

Once placed, the cameras are expected to last five years, at minimum.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 8:07 AM The Dark Side of Techtopia
  Life
Quora
Oct. 2 2014 8:27 AM How Do Teachers Kill the Joy of Reading for Students?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 8:47 AM Season 2 of The Bridge Was Confusing, Bizarre, and Uneven. I Loved It.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 2 2014 7:30 AM What Put the Man in the Moon in the Moon?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?