Astronauts Demonstrate First 4K Video Live Stream From Space

By Meera Dolasia on May 8, 2017

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Whitson and Fischer play ping pong (Photo Credit: AWS/NASA YouTube screen capture)

On April 26, NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer starred in the first 4K ultra-high-definition live stream broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS). The highly anticipated event, that occurred at 10:30 AM PDT (1:30 PM EDT), was part of a special show at the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas to demonstrate the advanced technology and promote space science and filmmaking. Though the broadcast lasted just a few minutes, the astronauts impressed the ground audience with some fun experiments that looked stunning, thanks to the high-resolution imaging.

The first involved a ping pong game between the two scientists. However, given that this was the space version, the duo did not use an ordinary ball. Instead, Fischer created a water ball by pushing the liquid up through a straw. Thanks to the zero-gravity environment, the floating bubble stayed almost intact, enabling the astronauts to gently hit it back and forth with their makeshift paddles. Since errant water bubbles can cause damage to the space station’s delicate instruments, Fischer gulped it down as soon as the game was done.

Fischer injects water bubble with red dye (Photo Credit AWS/NASA YouTube screen capture)

The second experiment also involved a water ball, but this time the astronauts added some Alka-Seltzer. The ensuing small air bubbles were clearly visible to the audience even though the ISS rotates 220 miles above Earth. Red food coloring made the floating water ball seem even more vivid and lifelike. Though Fischer tried to catch it again with his mouth, the water ball appeared to elude him and the astronaut is later seen cleaning up the red mess with a sheepish smile on his face.

For their third and final demonstration, the scientists created a thin film of water on a ring similar to the one used to blow bubbles with and added blue and green food coloring. As the colors swirled around, Fischer carefully injected additional water, creating an Earth-colored bubble that magically floated inside the ring.

Whitson and Fischer create film of water (Photo Credit: AWS/NASA YouTube screen capture)

According to the astronauts, the 4K live-streaming capability will allow them to share detailed images of space experiments with their colleagues on Earth. Whitson believes the technology will become even more crucial as we get closer to sending humans to Mars. That’s because obtaining high resolution images of the Red Planet will enable researchers to study and prepare for the destination in advance.

Though this is the first time the researchers have live-streamed using 4K technology, it is not the first ultra-high-definition demonstration from space. In October 2015, American astronaut Scott Kelly released a video of a similar bubble experiment that was captured on film using the ISS’s then newly-acquired 4K video camera!


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  • karan69
    karan69Friday, June 30, 2017 at 10:05 pm
    woah thats neat
    • wawibooMonday, June 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm
      • batmandan05
        batmandan05Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm
        the future is now thanks to science
        • zascata
          zascataThursday, June 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm
          • hiTuesday, June 6, 2017 at 7:48 am
            this is the most amazin ting i ever see
            • picklesTuesday, June 6, 2017 at 7:43 am
              • colin Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 7:43 am
                we just read a book called the plant that ate dirty socks go up in space (its a serise) you can get it at like barns and nobels or something and is there a plant that can really pick up trash in space!
                • zascat
                  zascatThursday, June 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm
                  This is super cool.
                  • MerrygoroundThursday, June 1, 2017 at 1:34 pm
                    I want to see more of it! We really liked the science project you really worked hard on. It was fun watching the video with the bubble! We hope you liiked it too!!
                    • zascat
                      zascatThursday, June 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm
                      That would so rock.
                    • kjbweTuesday, May 30, 2017 at 8:01 am
                      that is so cool!!

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