Have you been watching National Geographics’ “One Strange Rock” yet? It’s on cable, so many may not have seen it, but check it out if you can. Of course, that strange rock is Earth. The show is a combination of science, technology, and movie magic. It provides an interesting balance between learning and entertainment. You won’t get a Bachelor’s degree after viewing, but you might pickup a few talking points and things to investigate further.
The series has had a few interesting firsts. The latest was One Strange Rock’s host, Will Smith, doing an interview using Instagram Live. The video interview was with NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, a flight engineer for Expedition 55, on the International Space Station. Among other things, itt was fun hearing them talk about poop. Hey, it’s one of those technical problems that needs to be addressed in space and elsewhere. “On Earth, it’s important to poop...I need to understand how you manage that?” probes Smith. “I’m a man of the people, Drew, I’m a man of the people! And it’s important to me to ask the questions that the people want the answers to,” says Smith. Here's the interview:
Another first was the use of Vuze VR Camera in space:
Vuze 360-deg. camera used to film part of One Strange Rock on the ISS. A VR headset is needed for a 360-deg. view.
The camera was selected to go to space by National Geographic and NASA after a rigorous vetting process. NASA had to ensure the camera passed fire hazard, battery, and numerous other safety tests. European Space Agency Astronaut Paolo Nespoli used it to document his time at the ISS. Its compact size, light weight, 4K 3D capture, and simplicity made it easy operate. This allowed Nespoli to shoot without additional or complicated camera rigs.
One Strange Rock should really be viewed on a large, 4K screen. The vistas it presents are stunning. It also delivers impressive computer-generated graphics for those presentations that can’t be filmed in person. Much of the technical presentation is done by scientists and engineers who are involved with the topics presented, like the ISS astronauts. I’ve enjoyed it so far, and am looking forward to the next episode.