ISS - Expedition 44 Mission patch.
July 28, 2015
RED 4K Camera Captures Riveting Footage of Unique Fluid Behavior in Space Laboratory
Video above: Astronauts on the International Space Station dissolved an effervescent tablet in a floating ball of water, and captured images using a camera capable of recording four times the resolution of normal high-definition cameras. This footage is one of the first of its kind on NASA's new 4K YouTube channel. The cameras are being evaluated for capturing science data and vehicle operations by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Video Credit: NASA.
In October 2014 NASA delivered high-definition, 3-D footage of astronauts living and working on the International Space Station to the Internet, posting video of astronauts exploring water tension in microgravity. The same engineers who sent high-definition cameras and then 3-D cameras to the space station have now delivered a new camera capable of recording images with six times more detail than either of the previous cameras.
The Epic Dragon camera by RED, a digital cinema company, is capable of shooting at resolutions ranging from conventional HDTV up to 6K, specifically 6144 x 3160 pixels. By comparison, the average HD consumer television displays up to 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution, and digital cinemas typically project 2,000 to 4,000.
Image above: View of RED video camera and display monitor floating between two Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) in the airlock. Image Credit: NASA.
The fifth SpaceX cargo resupply mission delivered this camera to the orbiting laboratory in January 2015. The camera's ability to record at a high resolution as well as up to 300 frames per second made it the ideal recording device to capture dynamic events like vehicle operations near the station, such as docking and undocking. The higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos can reveal more information when used on science investigations, giving researchers a valuable new tool aboard the space station.
The ReelNASA YouTube channel posted views of the Earth and activities recorded from inside the station as an example of the detailed images this new camera can capture. The most recent RED camera footage shows astronauts having a little fun in the microgravity environment of space, while they also tested out the new camera that is ideal for science.
In the video, astronaut Terry Virts extracts a floating ball of water, into which he inserts an effervescent tablet to watch it dissolve and release gasses in mid-air. Rodney Grubbs, program manager for NASA's Imagery Experts Program at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, says the footage itself is dynamic for its subject matter, and the detailed, high-resolution makes it especially riveting.
Image above: Astronaut Terry Virts inserted an effervescent antacid tablet into a ball of water while crewmates filmed the reaction with the Red Epic Dragon camera. Image Credit: NASA.
"This is a huge leap in camera technology for spaceflight," Grubbs said. "These cameras have large sensors capable of very high resolution imaging at high frame rates. It is like having a high speed 35MM motion picture film camera, but it is compact, can use lenses we already have up there, and it is digital. No film to return to Earth."
The RED camera is the same model used to record theatrical releases such as The Hobbit trilogy and television programs. Ultra-HD televisions capable of receiving and displaying 4K transmissions are now sold in stores.
While the 4K resolutions are optimal for showing on movie screens, NASA video editors are working on space station footage for public viewing on YouTube. You will be able to watch high-resolution footage from inside and outside the orbiting laboratory right on your computer screen. You will need a screen capable of displaying 4K resolution for the full effect, but the imagery still trumps that of standard cameras. RED videos and pictures are shot at a higher fidelity and then down-converted, meaning much more information is captured in the images, which results in higher-quality playback, even if you don't have a 4K screen.
Image above: A water bubble with the remnants of an antacid tablet reaction floats in front of astronaut Terry Virts’ eye. The reaction of putting the effervescent tablet into the water was filmed with the Red Epic Dragon Camera. Image Credit: NASA.
NASA will post the 4K videos to the ReelNASA YouTube channel for users who have television screens or computer displays that can show footage of that resolution. They plan to post new videos every few weeks, bringing the spectacular views into your living room. Perhaps they may not be as good as the view from orbit, but pretty close.
Russian and U.S. Spacesuit Work Ahead of August Spacewalk
Two cosmonauts are getting ready for the first spacewalk from the International Space Station since March. Two NASA astronauts are also working to bring a U.S. spacesuit back to service.
Image above: Astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Kjell Lindgren are in the Quest airlock servicing a U.S. spacesuit. Image Credit: NASA TV.
The three newest Expedition 44 crew members joined Commander Gennady Padalka during their afternoon for a familiarization session with emergency equipment inside the orbital lab. Having arrived just last week, new flight engineers Oleg Kononenko, Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui are still getting used to their new home in space.
Padalka and One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko checked out Russian spacesuit gear ahead of an Aug. 10 spacewalk. The duo will replace external experiments and photograph the exterior condition of the space station’s Russian segment.
Lindgren and One-Year crew member Scott Kelly worked on a U.S. spacesuit replacing internal parts to return the unit to service. Kelly also continued more research for the Twins study comparing him to his Earth-bound twin brother and ex-astronaut Mark Kelly.
International Space Station (ISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Kristine Rainey/Marshall Space Flight Center/Bill Hubscher.