If you've ever dreamed of seeing the earth from space, this could be the ticket. And you don't have to be an astronaut or buy an insanely expensive seat on a private spacecraft.
Apparently, as of next spring, everyone on earth will be able to watch the planet through two high-definition cameras mounted on the International Space Station. Not only that, but word is, we'll be able to watch everything live.
The cameras are being built by a Canadian company called UrtheCast (pronounced Earth-cast), which is based in Calgary. They were supposed to be up and running this year. But the company has been raising more money to pay for it all.
According to the BBC, the cameras are supposed to be finished in the next few months. It's said that one camera will be fixed and the other will swivel around and point in different directions. Cosmonauts on board the space station are being trained to mount them on the outside.
Once the cameras are rolling, the company says you'll be able to log in to a free website from anywhere in the world and see real-time video (or maybe, with a very short delay). You'll also be able to see archived images or video from anywhere on earth.
Plus, you'll be able to find out where and when the space station will fly over your area.
With the station orbiting the planet around 15 times a day, "You can enter in your address and find out when it was above (you) last," says UrtheCast President Scott Larson. "At the same time, because we know where the space station is, you can enter in your address and find out when it's going to be above you next."
That means, in theory, you could get photos of your wedding from space. Or your kid's baseball game. Or your family picnic. One thing to keep in mind though, the cameras can't see through clouds so it's a bit of a roll of the dice.
The company plans to release its code and allow developers to build apps that use its video for a variety of things. Already, the United Nations is talking about using it to track humanitarian emergencies.