Inspired by Earth Day (and eerily in sync with Julianne!) I have been looking for good views of the planet from space. In fact, two nights ago my TV satellite provider Dish Network launched the Earth Channel, with a 24/7 view of the earth from the EchoStar 11 satellite. There is also a video with a compressed 24 hour series of stills taken from the camera. At one point you see the moon passing behind the earth. Of course since it’s a TV satellite, it’s geosynchronous and you’ll only ever see the western hemisphere. As far as I can tell, though, you cannot get it online anywhere.
And this one is pretty cool. Even though the image is not very sharp, you can actually control a little web cam on a the Tate satellite, in polar orbit 400 km above the earth… Add a focus button!
I cannot seem to get NASA’s ISS webcam stream to work. Darn. Too popular? Not Mac compatible?
Sadly, Al Gore’s 1990′s vision of an Earth-viewing satellite, originally called Triana, and later renamed DSCOVR, sits in storage at Goddard, having been built but cancelled in 2006.
Speaking of which, it appeared for some time that a similar fate awaited Nobel Prize winner Sam Ting’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, designed to search for antimatter (antihelium nuclei, in fact) and other things in space. Construction of the $1.5 billion satellite was completed, and it awaits launch at CERN. An additional, final Space Shuttle mission, STS-134, was added to the 2010 NASA schedule. It was authorized by Congress in the fall but I am not sure if funding has been appropriated yet. (My money is on Sam Ting, though.)
Anyway, where are the cool views of our planet from space?