An ambitious effort to broadcast real-time streaming video of Earth from space is closer to reality, after a new influx of cash and some new partnerships. By spring 2013, everyone on Earth will be able to watch the planet from the most unique vantage point ever built, the International Space Station.
We first told you about the Canadian startup UrtheCast (pronounced Earth-cast) last year, and the first cameras were supposed to launch in 2012. But the company has been raising money and working on its two high-definition cameras, while cosmonauts are in training to move the cameras from the cargo ferry to the station's underside. The cameras are due to be finished in the next few months, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, the company, which is based in Calgary, said it plans to go public later this fall.
One camera will be fixed and the other will swivel around, according to Ian Tosh, an engineer at camera-builder RAL Space near Oxford, England. He told the BBC the images would be about a meter (3.3 feet) per pixel. That's about the same as Google Earth's satellite images of your house, where you can definitely see features like your car in the driveway.
"You won't quite see the tiles, but you'll see all the detail in the garden," Tosh told the BBC. Except that it'll be live. Users anywhere in the world will be able to log in to a free site and see real-time (or maybe a very short delay) video. It's easy to find out where and when the ISS will fly over your area, so UrtheCast aims to help people plan events around ISS coverage. You could get wedding pictures from space!
The ISS already has cameras, but they're used for specific purposes, like monitoring crops. With UrtheCast, anyone can see anything he or she wants. The company plans to release its code and allow developers to build apps that use its video for a variety of purposes. Already, the United Nations wants to use it to monitor humanitarian emergencies. You could have an app that monitors crop growth, urbanization, pollution in cities, light distribution, and so on. Imagine the game possibilities, too! You can read more about UrtheCast here.
And I thought Google Earth, and subsequent Street View, were scary...
- wise up
This'll be awesome to watch. Of course, it also means that now anyone (not just the government) can watch you (provided of course the ISS is overhead).
I don't know how "real time" it will be for looking at any given point. The ISS orbits the Earth about once every 90 minutes, so depending on the field of view it would be able to see a given spot for that long (at varying angles), and then would have to wait for it to come around again.
But of course in comparison to months/years old Google map images is pretty "real time".
But is should be a pretty show though.
We should use it to monitor illegals crossing the border.....
Truth or Troll? You decide. Also, I know my game will be looking for people nude sunbathing in the safety of their fenced in back yards.
I wonder how many shots will be of people aiming their guns up at the gubberment skyship spying on them. What kind of lead would you need to give the ISS? (Yes, I know that no bullet would go that high)
Anyone know what it would take to get one up that far? Being able to shoot a bullet up into orbit would be a ballistic project worth doing.
Although this could be viewed by criminals or terrorists, they would not be able to do much with it. The ISS orbits the Earth about every 90 min. This means that it would only be able to view an area for a short period of time. Also, a specific area is not viewable every day, so planning would be near impossible. For beyond9, Google has nothing to do with this, so actually read the article before commenting.
So when are astronauts going to be available to play in my backyard with my dog when I'm not home? He gets lonely sometimes. And astronauts are supposed to have holographic avatars by now. So they can do stuff.
I feel naked and some body is watching!!!!