In Crew Earth Observations (CEO), crew members on the International Space Station (ISS) photograph the Earth from their unique point of view in low Earth orbit. Photographs record how the planet is changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth and reservoir construction, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, floods and volcanic eruptions. A major emphasis of CEO is to ... monitor disaster response events in support of the International Disaster Charter (IDC). CEO imagery provides researchers on Earth with key data to understand the planet from the perspective of the ISS. Crew members have been photographing Earth from space since the early Mercury missions beginning in 1961. The continuous images taken from the ISS ensure this record remains unbroken.
Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 40 years. Beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s, astronauts have taken more than 1.5 million photographs of the Earth. Today, the International Space Station (ISS) continues the NASA tradition of Earth observation from human-tended spacecraft. Operational since November 2000, the ISS is well suited for documenting Earth features. The ISS maintains an altitude between 220 - 286 miles (354 - 460 km) above the Earth, and an orbital inclination of 51.6?, providing an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but to science, images of Earth captured by ISS crew members through the Crew Earth Observation (CEO) program may be priceless. Available online (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov
), these images have appeared in scientific papers on a variety of subjects, including Tahiti?s giant clams, urban vegetation, coral reefs, algal blooms, night-time remote sensing, and the ... break-up of Antarctic ice shelves. Scientists have also used CEO images for a global inventory of a new class of landform, megafans of river sediments in continental basins. Analysis of megafans may contribute to mineral exploration and has suggested the existence of past river systems on Mars.
The photographs from Crew Earth Observations (CEO) document human impacts on Earth, such as city growth, agricultural expansion, and reservoir construction and other natural phenomenon like volcanoes and hurricanes.
Through their photography of the Earth, International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers build on the time series of imagery started with the first human spaceflights, ensuring that this continuous record of Earth remains unbroken.
Photographs taken from ISS accounts for almost one half of all Earth photographs from human space flight.
During Increments 19 through 26, a new activity is conducted in collaboration with the celebration of Darwin's 200th Birthday (February 12, 1809) Celebrations and the Voyage of the HMS Beagle activities. This project was initiated by an agreement between NASA and the HMS Beagle Trust (also known as The Beagle Project) as an international collaboration of scientists for the observation and exploration of the sites visited during the HMS Beagle's Voyages. The ISS crewmembers photograph sites and phenomena including land use and plankton blooms, in response to requests made from the scientists on the ground.