ESA NightPod (ESA NightPod) - 03.25.14
ISS Science for Everyone
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NightPod is a tracking device technology being tested on the International Space Station (ISS) for its ability to assist cameras in taking improved photographs of the Earth, especially at night (in low light conditions). The device compensates for ISS movement allowing a camera fitted to the device a longer exposure time on fixed targets on Earth. This is not only helpful for taking images of Earth for education, promotion or research activities, it also holds the potential for use on orbital craft on future missions around other planets and planetary bodies.
Science Results for Everyone
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2011 - September 2014
Previous ISS Missions
ISS night photography: the Cupola on board the ISS provides a unique vantage point for remote sensing of the Earth. High resolution imagery of the night side of the Earth has great potential in many scientific disciplines and it is visually compelling. Because a dedicated satellite is not foreseen in the near future, the most likely candidate suppliers of high resolution, global, nocturnal imagery are the crew on board the ISS. The NightPod device has been commissioned by ESA to assist the crew in such tasks: tracking visual targets on the Earth and neutralising the effect of ISS motion, allowing for an increase in exposure time and therefore the quality of the nocturnal images.
The imagery of the Earth at Night has a large number of potential applications, from the original motivation to build NightPod, i.e. taking images of cities at night to create a map of the distribution of the population, to mapping fishing activities, light pollution and fires. These are only some of the applications that can benefit from a systematic collection of night imagery of the Earth at Night. The NightPod concept is very basic and allows for the tracking mechanism to be used by a large number of sensors and instruments.
NASA Image: ISS034E031609 - View of European Space Agency (ESA) NightPod hardware in the Cupola Module. Photo was taken during Expedition 34.
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NASA Image: ISS034E031612 - View of European Space Agency (ESA) NightPod hardware in the Cupola Module. Photo was taken during Expedition 34.
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