This mind-blowing tour of the Earth from the unmatched vantage point of the International Space Station is a uniquely wondrous view of the spectacular world we live in.
German artist Michael Konig brought art and science together to create an astounding piece that interlaces dozens of NASA photographs taken from the station to create a video tour of the Earth's surface, as seen from 240 miles above it.
The video, which is eerie in its level of cool reserve from earthly care, is a tour across the earth in an orbiting station, and it allows an uncut view of what the earth looks like as it spins on its axis.
Lightning pierces through the clouds like flashbulbs at the Oscars, and even the Aurora Borealis can be seen high in the sky.
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Most impressive, though, may be the visual proof of the networks of lights that makeup human civilization, seen snaking their way across six continents in this stunning achievement.
And in two days, what exists as just a web video for us mere mortals, will be the waking lives of three brave spacemen.
The video's release coincided with the launch late Sunday of the first manned spacecraft to take off since the NASA space shuttle program ended earlier this year. A Russian Soyuz rocket sent two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut on a course to arrive at the International Space Station on Wednesday, where they will experience first-hand the spectacular views shown in Konig's video.
The crew of that flight, dubbed Expedition 30, are Commander Dan Burbank of NASA, Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin.
The craft was originally scheduled to take off Sept. 22, but the flight was delayed after an unmanned Progress cargo ship malfunctioned Aug. 24. The problem was one that could also affect the Soyuz rocket, so it was imperative that it be fixed before sending humans into space.
A Progress spacecraft was launched successfully Oct. 30, after the issue was addressed. For more information about the mission or to follow it online, visit NASA's website.