The video: Science teacher James Drake would like to take you on a tour of our planet. Drake, about whom few other details are available, has assembled more than 600 images from NASA, which has been storing astronaut snapshots since the early 1960s, and spliced them together to create a video that shows what International Space Station astronauts see as they orbit the Earth from 220 miles up. (Watch the video below.) The ISS has traveled more than 1.5 billion miles over the Earth's surface since it was first launched in October 2000, and this one-minute video takes viewers on a trip above British Columbia, the west coast of the United States, the Yucatan peninsula, the Isthmus of Panama, the Andes, and the Amazon down toward Antarctica.
The reaction: "Simply stunning," says Jason Major at Discovery News. This is why, even after five months aboard the ISS, astronauts "still don't want to come down!" Among the many "gorgeous" sights that make this a "must-see video," says Alan Boyle at MSNBC, are the "constellations of city lights, lightning flashes in the clouds, the stars whirling in the night sky above… and the glorious dawn at the end." Check it out: