Posted on November 4th, 2014

Out of this World – SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE

Video Tour of Earth

iss_italy_fromvideoClick above for a video fly-by of some major cities around the world with commentary by two ISS astronauts, Make Hopkins  and Rick Mastracchio. (Credit: Slate and NASA)
VIPIRVIPIR is one cute looking robot, like something out of a PIXAR movie. (Credit: NASA)
laniakea_supercluster_youarehereThe Laniakea, Hawaiian for ‘immense heaven’, is our new home supercluster. (Credit: Nature and Slate)

The International Space Station (ISS) is a hot bed of science and experimentation from vegetation to medical equipment to robotics. Astronauts on ISS also collect great footage of the Earth from space, both at night and during the day, thanks to the cameras aboard the station and the cupola with its dome structure and seven windows. They also have the ability to take video as they fly high above our heads. Earlier this year, four High Definition cameras were installed on ISS and are being streamed live on both NASA and NASA-JPL site, which also includes a map depicting where ISS is orbiting overhead. It only takes ISS 90 minutes to orbit the Earth, so every 45 minutes you can catch a sunset or sunrise.

VIPIR

Robots can be really cute, like R2D2, or really scary, like HAL. NASA’s newest robot on board ISS is more towards the cute end of the spectrum. VIPIR, the Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot, is being tested as part of the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) to measure the usability and usefulness of new technologies. VIPIR’s most useful equipment is the borescope, a very small camera at the end of thirty-four inches of flexible tubing. Able to fit through areas that are as small as an inch in diameter, the borescope can go where humans can’t, fitting in those tight spaces to inspect instruments. VIPIR also has two other cameras for less finite work. One is a motorized camera on ISS’ side meant to look at larger objects on the outside of the spacecraft. The third camera is for situational awareness, so the operators of VIPIR can better maneuver the borescope and position the instrument.

Our New Universal Postal Code – Laniakea

I won’t try to describe what a supercluster is in detail, because I couldn’t possibly explain it as well as the video below. Basically, galaxies are part of much larger structures called superclusters. The galaxies in these superclusters are moving together with the force of gravity and are being pulled along pathways that form the clusters, leaving large patches of the Universe dark and empty. Watch the video below for a much better explanation of these massive structures.

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163
Katie@apollomapping.com

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