May 11, 2012
EarthKAM Lets School Children Interact With The International Space Station
EarthKAM, a camera onboard the International Space Station (ISS), used for remote Earth sensing and observations, also has another more popular use, giving school children the opportunity to interact with the high-flying (or orbiting) space lab.
The Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) system has allowed thousands of students across the country to use the Internet to control a digital camera mounted on the space station, enabling them to photograph the Earth like they have never before, taking pictures of coastlines, mountains, cities and other geographical interests around the world.
The system may offer students a powerful and innovative way to explore the planet from a unique perspective, but it is also an inspirational tool for the next generation of flight controllers for space programs -- allowing university and college students to take control of the camera as well.
“EarthKAM is a payload by students, for students. They are in charge. This system provides a viewpoint that the astronauts have...it's just awe-inspiring!” said Brion Au, an investigation developer at NASA´s Johnson Space Center.
So far, students have captured more than 40,000 photos of the Earth from the ISS, orbiting 225 miles above us. The EarthKAM team posted photographs online for the public and participating school classrooms around the world to view.
EarthKAM is the brainchild of Dr. Sally Ride, an ex-shuttle astronaut, and the first American woman to go into space, paving the way for other women to follow suit. The camera is located in the Window Observational Research Facility (WORF), one of the many research facilities aboard the ISS.