If you’re a space buff, you’ve probably seen IMAX movies like Space Station 3-D or IMAX Hubble 3-D. Those movies require huge, cumbersome cameras to be sent to space and back again, along with lots of editing and processing to create the 3-D effect you can only see in theaters. Now, with a new camera on board the ISS, astronauts can stream live 3-D video back to Earth, showing what it’s like to live and work in space like never before, and it can be seen on your computer screen or television.
ESA has developed the Erasmus Recording Binocular (ERB-2) camera, and on August 6, 2011 NASA astronaut Ron Garan operated the new camera for the first time in the Columbus lab. You can see him above, talking about the work on board the ISS, showing a spinning inflatable Earth globe. Grab your 3-D glasses and enjoy the view! You should use the red/blue 3-D glasses to watch this video.
The ERB-2 is the about the size of a shoebox, with high-definition optics and advanced electronics.
This will not only allow people on Earth to enjoy 3-D video from the ISS and better understand the experience of being on the station, but it will also be used in supporting science operations on the Station.
In addition to just broadcasting stereo images in real-time for live programs, ESA’s ERB-2 coordinator Massimo Sabbatini dreams about filming extravehicular activities — which would be awesome — and give those of us here on Earth one of the best ‘you-are-there’ experiences yet of an EVA.
“The camera could also be used in the future outside the ISS to support the astronauts’ spacewalks or other critical robotic operations,” Sabbatini said. “This really felt like being in space with an astronaut by your side.”
Plus, great news if you have a 3-D TV: The first ERB-2 images will be soon posted on a new ESA YouTube 3D channel that will be available soon. “If you already have a new generation 3D-enabled plasma TV at home, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the world of the Space Station without leaving your sofa. These videos will turn more people into real space fans,” said Sabbatini.