Daydreaming about being an astronaut just got a whole lot easier.
NASA is now live-streaming views of Earth from space captured by four commercial high-definition video cameras that were installed on the exterior of the International Space Station last month. The project, known as the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment, aims to test how cameras perform in the space environment. You can see the live HD views of Earth from space above.
"The cameras are enclosed in a temperature-specific housing and are exposed to the harsh radiation of space," NASA officials write in an online description of the HDEV experiment. "Analysis of the effect of space on the video quality, over the time HDEV is operational, may help engineers decide which cameras are the best types to use on future missions.
Some of the cameras' components were designed by high school students as part of the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware, according to a NASA description of the experiment. The students are also operating the experiment.
You can follow NASA's stream directly here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload. If the screen is black, don't worry — the space station is likely just on Earth's night side. (The station completes one orbit every 90 minutes, so you won't have to wait too long for our gorgeous planet to roll into view once again.)