If you tuned in to the AWS/NASA live stream from space that happened on Wednesday, then you already know: It looked very, very good. The 4K quality and relatively shallow depth of field made it feel like you were watching Chefs Table on Netflix, rather than a live feed from a space station orbiting Earth around 220 miles above the planet. Astronauts Dr. Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer talked to NAB show attendees on the ground for only a few minutes, but they still had time to run some crazy experiments in amazingly detailed resolution.
Dr. Whitson and Fischer also explained some of the benefits of having 4K live streaming technology in space: providing live footage of experiments under way on the International Space Station being one, since it means they can use things like slow motion cameras capturing extremely high detail to transmit results in real-time to their researcher colleagues on Earth. Fischer also noted that being able to broadcast an outside view of the station has big potential benefits, too.
In addition to that, high resolution imaging, and broadcast capabilities, will be important to efforts to reach further into space, including to Mars. Advanced imaging capabilitieswill be crucial as a part of the decision-making process in the lead-up to a Mars journey, since a very important part of that planning will be able to see and study the destination in advance, Dr. Whitson explained.
For now, Mars is still a pretty distant target but high-quality GIFs derived from 4K streams of antics in space is still well within reach.