While photos of Earth from space almost always catch us by surprise, this video essay by Guillaume Juin is a different animal. Using footage taken by NASA scientists, which is, by definition, in the public domain, Juin made a small film–which could properly be called a video essay, by the standards applied to most of the pieces posted here–showing a voyage around Earth by the International Space Station, which travels at 28 kilometers per hour. Or rather, several voyages, merged into one exhilarating journey, cast in blazing, sharp colors, with explosions of light in the darkness that represent entire cities on our planet. In his acknowledgments, Juin thanks the members of five different ISS expeditions for footage shot over the course of three years, all available at the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit of the NASA Johnson Space Center. Really, though, the credit should go to Juin. Imagine as we might what traveling in outer space might be like, in films like Gravity, Insterstellar, and their myriad ancestors, there is very little substitute for reality, as this film shows; the exhilaration it offers is authentic, and the wonderment it causes (if you’re receptive enough) is quite real.
Watch: Imagine a Film In Which Earth (Seen From the ISS) Is the Main Character