Since the earliest days of the space program, astronauts have taken photos of the Earth from space to capture the beauty of the planet and to document the impacts of man-made and natural events. While only a small percentage of people are fortunate enough to witness this view firsthand, since 2001 the EarthKAM investigation has enabled students to remotely program a camera positioned in an Earth-facing window of the International Space Station and capture their own photographs of the world from space.
Space Station Live commentator Pat Ryan recently spoke with several EarthKAM participants to learn more about how teachers and students are using this experiment to study our home planet.
Dave Curry, an 8th grade Earth and space science teacher at Holland Middle School in Holland, Pa., has incorporated EarthKAM in his classroom every year since 2006. Curry was drawn to the program because it allowed kids to get involved in doing something themselves and seeing a result from that. As Curry pointed out, “Middle school is really an age where we try to hook kids on science.”
Two of Curry’s students, Alison Castronuovo and Andrew Harman, shared with Space Station Live viewers some of the photos they captured from the station and the things they learned from studying these images. The students found more than they initially expected, because as Alison explained, “I never expected all that detail.”