‘The Satellite’ Is A Science Project To Bring You A Live Portrait Of Earth

When you try to picture Earth, you might recall the iconic blue marble photograph taken on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, or perhaps now you visualize Google Earth or the beautiful shots of our planet in Alfonso Cuaron’s GravityThe Satellite wants to change that perception of Earth into something more “photo-realistic.”

The Satellite is a project created by two New York University instructors who are attempting to create a live-view, photorealistic portrait of Earth with real-time imagery and remote sensing data from hundreds of satellites.

By gathering live data from satellites, the team hopes to create a live representation of Earth that is close to what it would actually look like from the International Space Station. They want to create and design the right architecture for this project, which will include six high-resolution projectors and a spherical screen for the best viewing performance.

NASA is offering support to the project in the form of advice from astronaut and engineer Charles Camarda. The team also has several advisers from NYU, where the project started about six months ago.

One challenge they have is working with weather data, as it is constantly changing. Land masses don’t have to be rendered as quickly.

The team describes The Satellite as a public project and hopes it can receive more sponsors and even interested parties to help with its development and installation.

The Satellite was the Hack of the Month at last night’s New York Tech Meetup  at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Presenters from various companies demoed their tech to a sold-out audience.

One presentation that gathered interest was the launch of Amicus Post. Amicus is a company that empowers nonprofits to use social network data and voter registration data to gain more supporters. With the launch of Amicus Post, people or nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign Foundation can directly mail a postcard to friends on Facebook with a few clicks.


Co-founder and CEO Seth Bannon of Amicus believes these peer-to-peer postcards will help win more donors and more votes.

Also announced at the meetup by 72Lux was the launch of Shoppable, a universal wish list and checkout service but their presentation didn’t seem to generate a lot of interest. But augmented reality startup Blippar generated strong interest in their presentation. Its use of more than 800 brands and 400 publishers certainly seems to be paving the way for AR advertising.

Article corrected to note that the project was begun six months ago.