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NASA's 1st 8K Video from Space Is Just Awesome

High-definition video has a new home: the International Space Station. A new video from NASA shows the astronauts working on their experiments, recorded in 8K imagery so clear that it makes it feel like you're floating right alongside them.

"Microgravity unlocks new worlds of discovery," reads text in the video, which was a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). "The science being conducted aboard the International Space Station is answering questions that hold the keys to our future in space and on Earth."

The rest of the video shows the Expedition 56 crew busily working on experiments aboard the orbiting complex. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and NASA's Drew Feustel (who has since returned to Earth) feature prominently in the video.

These astronauts look really busy, but they also look like they're having a lot of fun. In between their work tasks, which are often scheduled down to 5-minute increments, the astronauts flash quick smiles to the camera before intensely concentrating again on the task at hand.

And there's a lot of NASA research on offer in the video, in part because the agency advertises opportunities for research in the accompanying video text on YouTube. For instance, Auñón-Chancellor tends to the plants as part of the Plant Habitat-1 experiment, which "comprehensively compares differences in genetics, metabolism, photosynthesis and gravity sensing between plants grown in space and on Earth," according to NASA.

Gerst is shown surrounded by floating objects as part of the SPHERES Tether Slosh experiment. NASA says this investigation "combines fluid-dynamics equipment with robotic capabilities aboard the space station to investigate automated strategies for steering passive cargo that contain[s] fluids."

Feustel, in between commanding the increment, performs work on the ground (or, because there is no up in space, is that the ceiling?) next to Kibo (the Japanese Experiment Module airlock), a facility that can shoot small satellites into space or put experiments out into the vacuum.

In between the astronaut activities, attentive viewers can also catch views of the Cupola — a wraparound window perfect for Earth observations — and the Canadarm2, which is routinely used to capture robotic spacecraft. There also are stunning views of our planet, including a jaw-dropping image of a hurricane.

To learn more about participating in space station research, you can visit this NASA website.

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Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for (opens in new tab) since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc (opens in new tab). in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.