The Danish students making NASA history

September 16th, 2014

This article is more than 9 years old.

Their short film of the Moon orbiting Earth has amazed both scientists and movie stars

A two-minute video made by two Danish PhD students David Pedersen and Andreas Jørgensen from the Danish Technical University (DTU) has become one of the most watched ever on the site of the American space agency NASA, reports Videnskab.dk.

The video, which was originally posted in December 2013, is the first in history to show the Moon orbiting Earth as seen from outerspace.

It has been described as "spectacular", "epic", "fantastic" and "amazing".

Celebrated worldwide, ignored at home
Even Hollywood stars have commented on the NASA video.

"This is the most beautiful art I have ever seen," posted Tom Hanks on Twitter. 

"It is quite incredible that the video has become one of NASA's most-watched videos ever  and received the attention of media from all over the world. Yet it has been largely overlooked by  Danish journalists," Professor John Leif Jørgensen, the students' supervisor, told Videnskab.dk.

The making of a Danish hit
The film was captured by two cameras developed by John Leif Jorgensen and other researchers from DTU. 

The cameras were fitted to the wing of NASA's spacecraft Juno, which travelled through space to Jupiter. 

While on its way to Jupiter the cameras acted as a star compass to help the spacecraft navigate by the stars. 

On its way back, the cameras took 1,200 snapshots of Earth and the Moon – one photo every five minutes.

The pictures were sent down to a high-tech laboratory on the top floor of a yellow brick building on Elektrovej, where two Danish students, David Pedersen and Andreas Jorgensen, created a film out of them.

From scepticism to success
NASA was initially sceptical about the idea, but eventually agreed and even awarded the DTU researchers with a diploma that is usually only given for "an outstanding group performance contributing significantly to NASA's mission".

In total, one million dollars was spent making the movie.

Opening new philosophical discussion
"The video has received more attention than we ever imagined," Pedersen told Videnskab. 

"I think it is because Earth and the Moon have never been seen from so far away. The video illustrates how small we really are."

WATCH IT HERE: Earth and Moon seen by passing Juno





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