Gerst spent 166 days in orbit starting in late May on the ISS as one of five flight engineers, all part of the European Space Agency's aptly named mission, Blue Dot. Luckily for us mere mortals, he also had an excellent photographic eye and captured some pretty spectacular views as the ISS hurtled around the planet at 17,200 mph, making more than 15 laps each day.
But lest you think it's all eye candy and fodder for philosophical musings, there are also a few hidden insights into how the various apparati that ensure the ISS can sustain the astronauts that call it home. Solar panels rotate to catch the most sun and keep all systems up and running. At the 1:35 mark, a robotic arm extends to pluck a Cygnus spacecraft -- one of the commercial spacecraft that help supply the ISS -- out of, well, space. After collecting its payload, the same arm releases it on its homeward journey at the 4:50 mark. It truly looks like science fiction.
So go ahead, ratchet the video up to ultra high definition and enjoy each one of the 12,500 images it took to create it. And let it not go unnoted that the European Space Agency also found some pretty futuristic background music for the video. Hope you're taking notes, NASA.
From Discovery News