NASA’s video of the ISS in 4K is pretty spectacular

28 Jul 2015

NASA astronaut Terry Virts with his effervescent ball of water. Image via NASA

Thanks to the amazingly-named Red Epic Dragon camera, NASA can now bring us incredible footage of the ISS in 4K footage, particularly the scientific exploits of astronaut Terry Virts.

While the Hubble Space Telescope might try to claim the title of the most powerful camera in Earth’s orbit, the Red Epic Dragon that can capture footage of the ISS in 4K is by far the most powerful handheld one.

Astronauts being sent to the ISS are frequently finding themselves now becoming camera crew and science communicators for the eager viewers down here on Earth, with NASA astronaut Terry Virts and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sam Cristoforetti being the most recent examples.

But now that the Red Epic Dragon Camera is aboard the ISS the crew can capture footage of a resolution as high as 6K, or more accurately, 6144 x 3160 pixels.

By comparison, the average HD consumer television displays up to 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution while digital cinemas typically project 2,000 to 4,000 pixels.

Capable of recording footage at 300 frames per second (fps), the camera was delivered to the space station back in January this year aboard a SpaceX cargo craft.

Pushing the limit of camera resolution

To help connect the public with this incredible footage, NASA has created a YouTube channel called ReelNASA that will host the Red Epic Dragon Camera’s footage in YouTube’s 4K quality, which clocks in at 2160p, but is available in full 4K on cinema screens when shown.

Of course, having the screen capable of viewing 4K content is also a requirement, but from what you can see, its quality is still quite high, even on the average screen.

In the most recent video, astronaut Terry Virts shows off the bizarre and complex way that fluids move in space, creating a mesmerising ball of water which contains an effervescent tablet.

It basically looks like a floating white planet in the middle of a space station, what’s not to like?

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic