I love space. From the breathtaking photos of planets, nebulas and galaxies to the very idea of traveling the stars, it's all amazing.
Of course, it's unlikely many of us will get outside Earth's atmosphere. Despite recent advances in reusable rockets, space tourism is still too expensive.
This project is the next best thing. It's the International Space Station's HD Earth Viewing Experiment. The idea is to see if commercial off-the-shelf cameras can work in space if they're protected correctly. This could save NASA and other space organizations a lot of money on equipment costs.
The benefit to you is that the ISS now has four HD cameras pointed at the Earth 24/7, and they're broadcasting live video feeds down to Earth and streaming online via UStream.
You can hop on at any time and watch the Earth pass underneath you like you were in low orbit. The gorgeous image at the beginning of this article is actually a screenshot from the feed.
Now, the ISS orbits the Earth every 90 minutes or so, so it spends a part of the time in Earth's shadow. If the feed is black, that's what's happening. If you want a bit though, you'll be treated to a spectacular "sunrise."
You might also see times when the feed goes gray for a few seconds. That just means the system is switching cameras. If the feed is cut for some reason, usually the site will stream archived footage.
I will say it's a good thing the feed goes to black every so often. Otherwise, I wouldn't do anything but watch it all day. I know you'll love it, too.