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 images from the International Space Station used in Michael Konig's video piece show our planet as few will ever experience it. Photo credit: NASA
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.
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.
A Russian Soyuz rocket readied for a late-Sunday blastoff, in a mission that will take one American NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts and on a delayed trip to the International Space Station.Photo credit: NASA
The crew of that flight, dubbed Expedition 30, are Commander Dan Burbank of NASA, Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 30 Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin (left), Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov (center) and Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank of NASA (right) pose for pictures in front of their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft Nov. 9, 2011. Photo credit: NASA
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.
The Soyuz TMA-22 rocket is seen at the Soyuz launch pad during a snow storm the morning of the launch of Expedition 29 to the International Space Station at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 14, 2011. Photo credit: NASA
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.