Mission 60 for the Sally Ride EarthKAM program is set for February 20-26. Sally Ride EarthKAM is a NASA educational outreach program for middle school students who select particular spots on earth for imaging by a dedicated camera on the International Space Station. See the gallery of EarthKAM images taken over the years.

A recent Sally Ride EarthKAM image of Australian coast.

The program “enables students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space”.

The Activities section explains the details of the program. For example:

How does a Sally Ride EarthKAM mission work?
A teacher starts by signing up for a mission on the Sally Ride EarthKAM website. Students use their class’s Mission Account to pinpoint locations and request images. To figure out where and when to request images, students can track the orbit of the ISS, refer to maps and atlases, and check weather reports to see if clouds are likely to be in the way. 

UCSD undergraduates at the Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Control Center collect image requests from schools all over the world. NASA representatives at Johnson Space Center in Houston uplink the requests to a computer on the ISS. This computer sends the requests to the digital EarthKAM camera. Then, when the ISS is passing over the exact right spot on Earth, the camera snaps a picture. 

The images are sent back to the ISS computer and downlinked to Johnson Space Center. From there they are transmitted to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena for processing and then sent to the Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Control Center. Within hours, the Sally Ride EarthKAM team puts the images on the EarthKAM website. Students can investigate the images and make connections to subjects they are studying. 

To participate in the upcoming ISS session, students and teachers can register here.

A view of a frozen lake in Qinghai Nanshan, northern China taken with the Sally Ride EarthKAM. An entry in the Favorite EarthKAM images gallery