VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Hi-Def Space Selfies Coming To Your Web Browser Soon

Space buffs can expect to to ogle stunning Earth views like this one anytime once new HD cameras are installed on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
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.


  1. ejvor nordin
    January 12, 2014, 7:43 am

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

  2. N. Seshu Kumar
    Yellandu, Khammam Dist., Andhra Pradesh, India
    December 3, 2013, 9:11 am

    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 !

  3. Matt
    December 2, 2013, 10:42 am

    UrtheCast CEO Wade Larson spoke at TEDxWaterloo


  4. Delia
    Accra, Ghana
    December 2, 2013, 10:21 am

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

  5. Robert Bell
    December 1, 2013, 9:22 pm

    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.

  6. Domingos Saude
    December 1, 2013, 4:38 pm

    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.

  7. Antonio Luis E. Kilayko
    December 1, 2013, 4:15 pm

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

  8. Antonio Luis E. Kilayko
    December 1, 2013, 3:56 pm

    It’s best always to learn latest. Salamat.

  9. Clovis Souza
    December 1, 2013, 12:18 pm

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

  10. Beverly Heacock
    December 1, 2013, 12:17 pm

    So happy to know this is coming. Thank you.

  11. Beverly Heacock
    Tampa, Florida
    December 1, 2013, 12:15 pm

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

  12. tom repik
    south carolina
    December 1, 2013, 7:30 am

    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.

  13. Pelegren Cardino
    December 1, 2013, 5:57 am

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

  14. Nick Nemati
    December 1, 2013, 3:34 am

    lol revolutionize

  15. Gilbert
    December 1, 2013, 3:03 am

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

  16. Piergiacomo Bianco
    December 1, 2013, 2:13 am

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

  17. Andy
    Kuwait, United States
    December 1, 2013, 1:59 am

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

  18. Hazel
    South Africa
    December 1, 2013, 12:35 am

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

  19. Brenda B
    Peoria AZ USA
    December 1, 2013, 12:23 am

    This is so exciting!!! 🙂

  20. Jim
    December 1, 2013, 12:22 am

    This will be the greatest stalking/spying device.

  21. shitu musa
    kano nigeria
    November 30, 2013, 4:31 pm

    very good nasa

  22. Frano
    November 30, 2013, 9:58 am

    It will be very interesting… l love this game…

  23. martin mckinlay
    November 28, 2013, 10:09 am

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

  24. marianne bezzina
    November 26, 2013, 2:17 am

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