Students can snap photos from space, such as this false-colour image of the Sahara Desert.
Middle school students programmed a camera aboard the International Space Station – the Sally Ride EarthKAM – to photograph this portion of the Sahara desert in western Libya on 3 October.
In early November, the Expedition 50 crew set up the EarthKAM gear once again in the Harmony module’s Earth-facing hatch window, to allow students to photograph targets on Earth and downlink the imagery.
EarthKAM is the only program providing students with such direct control of an instrument on a spacecraft orbiting Earth, teaching them about environmental science, geography and space communications.
The project was initiated by Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, in 1995 and called KidSat; the camera flew on five space shuttle flights before moving to the space station on Expedition 1 in 2001.