When I think of pictures of our planet from space, I tend to think of still images. The big blue marble, my city at night, that sort of thing. But it was curious as to why there there was no video, and especially so as to why there was none in high-definition. Our planet is too fascinating not to be watched. But now our problems are solved.
Skybox Imaging is a company that maintains its own satellite, pointed down at the Earth and offering mesmerizing HD video of everything below. You'll eventually have to pay for their services, but the first video they've provided is beautiful. Part of the reason for that is that it beams the pictures down in HD, but another huge factor is that the camera can see down to a meter-scale resolution. That enables you to watch humanity buzzing about its business from what is truly the heavens.
Though its possible the NRO has had this capability for years, this is the first time the technology is available to the consumer. Skybox eventually plans a constellation of 24 satellites that will be able to cover almost the entire globe, and along with its competitor, Urthecast, will soon be able to provide doubtless thousands of beautiful videos to come.
It's incredible to watch cars driving on highways and boats in shipping lanes from 200 miles up. As Phil Plait over at Slate noted, it really does feel like we live in the future.