The first official image has come down from the newest and most advanced Earth-facing camera in orbit today, showing over a hundred square miles of cities and rolling hills in central Jamaica.
The UrtheCast (pronounced Earth-Cast) system, which was installed (not without trouble) on the International Space Station at the end of 2013, is composed of two cameras. The Theia "medium resolution" camera took this shot; the full picture has a resolution of 3200x8000, or about 25 megapixels. The high-resolution device, which will capture video, is still being calibrated.
Eventually UrtheCast plans to provide free, constant, near-real-time video of the globe from far above — that is, when it's not being rented out to parties interested in a quick satellite snap of an area. Powerful cameras able to respond quickly to such requests are in high demand by everyone from law enforcement to disaster-relief coordinators.
A second image released by UrtheCast shows the city of Santa Cruz de Mara in Venezuela:
A crop of the picture of Santa Cruz de Mara in Venezuela.
More information can be found at UrtheCast's site, and new imagery will appear at the First Light page.
First published April 3 2014, 12:23 PM
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer at NBC News; he started his role in April of 2013. Coldewey is responsible for original reporting on a number of tech topics, such as photography, biotechnology, and Internet policy.
... Expand Bio
Coldewey joined NBCNews.com from TechCrunch, where he was an editor covering a similarly wide variety of content and industries. His personal website is coldewey.cc.