I’ve posted footage of Earth from the International Space Station before, but these videos are different: they tell us where we are.
Prior videos have left me scratching my head and saying, “Wait, if that’s X, then where the heck is Y? That doesn’t look like Y!” Real landscapes, hidden by nighttime and/or cloud covers, and approached from odd directions, do not easily line up with our mental maps. Or even our wall maps.
NASA’s Dr. Justin WIlkinson takes the pressure off by quietly narrating our location in this video, as we soar over Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. The music is well-chosen, providing a contemplative background to the beauty of the footage. HD and full screen make it easier to see.
The down sides to the above video are that it never pauses to let you really orient yourself, and it has no visual pointers if you can’t quite figure out what Dr. Wilkinson is referring to. The next video takes care of both of those issues, but lacks the peaceful, contemplative tone we just enjoyed. In fact, I’d recommend turning off the sound to watch it, because the guitar-driven rock just doesn’t work for this kind of footage.
A combination of the best of both videos would be just perfect.