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NASA Takes UHD to the Final Frontier

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I learned a great many interesting things at a recent breakfast event with NASA astronauts hosted by the National Press Club. Among them, the fact that Colonel Terry Virts's most terrifying moment in space came when he had to give fellow astronaut Captain Samantha Cristoforetti a haircut. (Virts knew Cristoforetti's Italian countrymen, and women, would be sitting in judgment.)

And, more practically, that we have two options for getting to Mars, as explained by Captain Mark Kelly: the slow way, which involves chemical propulsion, or the fast way, which involves electric propulsion, but would also require a nuclear reactor.

Beyond the facts and anecdotes, however, there were also some spectacular photo opportunities, largely thanks to the new NASA Ultra HD channel -- powered by Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) -- now in the works. (See NASA UHD Channel Launches November 1.)

Well, the UHD channel and the live link-up with astronaut Captain Scott Kelly on the International Space Station. Scott Kelly is now halfway through his one-year stint on the ISS, and was calling in to talk to his twin brother Mark Kelly here on the ground. The two are part of a radical twin study that will measure the effects of living in space on a human body, and determine what differences can be observed in two people with the same DNA who have spent very different amounts of time in space.

Now, click through for your photographic tour of the breakfast event. It's full of astronauts, stunning space photography and shots of life aboard the ISS.

Harmonic's UHD Video Loop
The new NASA Ultra HD channel powered by Harmonic will include rocket launch footage, video from the International Space Station and more.
The new NASA Ultra HD channel powered by Harmonic will include rocket launch footage, video from the International Space Station and more.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

Ariella 9/17/2015 | 12:30:19 PM
Re: space station I just came across this Tweet frin NASA: Students: Hear from @andyweirauthor of #TheMartian + @NASA experts @ 1pm ET all about Mars: http://go.nasa.gov/1FPN0zJ 

It illustrates both its reaching out in general and capitalizing on a current movie in self-promotion. I'm sure the marketing people put a lot of effort into this.
Ariella 9/17/2015 | 10:04:47 AM
Re: space station @msilbey I'm not altogether surprised about their skill with the public. Over the past several years, NASA has grown increasingly involved in reaching out to the public to get them interested and supportive of its efforts. They do a lot with blogs and social media and have built up quite a following. They also learned to capitalize on what grabs the public's attention, like Mowhawk guy. It's not enough to bold go, one has to get the camera angles right, too, to get the public's regard. 
msilbey 9/17/2015 | 9:58:12 AM
Re: space station One of the things that struck me about the astronauts was how comfortable they are and polished when talking to the public. Could be politicians, they're that good. I find that amazing given all of the other qualifying characteristics needed to be an astronaut. But yes, I agree on the privacy point!
Ariella 9/17/2015 | 9:48:18 AM
Re: space station @msilbey I love it: a low-tech solution! Really, people should be allowed some control over their own privacy.
msilbey 9/17/2015 | 9:43:04 AM
Re: space station Most of the astronauts can control where the cameras are pointed, but apparently in the Japanese section of the ISS, the cameras can be controlled remotely from Earth. As one of the US crew put it, however, a piece of cardboard can stilll do wonders.
Ariella 9/17/2015 | 9:38:49 AM
space station Do the people in ISS get to shut off the cameras or go where they will be off-camera? Otherwise, they're condemned to be in a fishbowl 24/7
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