What's the Latest Development?
Coming this fall to a screen near you: UrtheCast (pronounced "Earth-cast"), a service that will provide high- and medium-resolution streaming video of the planet from cameras mounted on the underside of the International Space Station. The video stream, which will broadcast with a 60-90 minute delay, will have a 1-meter resolution, which president Scott Larson says isn't sharp enough to "see the guy mowing the lawn in his backyard...but you [can] see a white golf cart on a green lawn." Viewers can watch and search videos, and they can also find out when the cameras will next be in their immediate vicinity, since the International Space Station usually passes over a particular location once every 8-10 days.
What's the Big Idea?
UrtheCast will be the first-ever streaming video service of the planet's surface originating from an orbiting satellite. Although it will be free to the public, Larson says that certain photos and videos with additional information will be available for sale. A paid video of a country's crops, for example, "would not only show video of the crops, but also have additional data, such as the height of the wheat it sees." While the stronger cameras are still being built, the company plans to send up a lower-resolution camera which will stream "nice pictures of Earth from space" in the next few months.
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