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Astronauts Capture New Images Of Earth For IMAX Film

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Astronauts often talk about that first moment seeing the Earth from space, witnessing a blue sphere that seems surprisingly fragile. In the new IMAX documentary, "A Beautiful Planet," we get to see that moment first-hand as astronauts aboard the International Space Station film both their daily lives and the Earth beneath them.

"I just couldn't resist to take a peek," Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoferetti said about first getting on board the International Space Station. "And I just could see the Earth majestically flowing by and it was like a river. I don't know what happiness is, but I was definitely happy at that time."

The movie is playing at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, after officials raced Friday to fix their 4-year-old high tech IMAX projector in time for the premiere. The projector had failed on Tuesday, an hour or so before a VIP reception honoring filmmaker Toni Myers. Instead, she used a laptop computer to show a clip of her film, narrated by actress Jennifer Lawrence, and displayed still photos while discussing how she and her partners worked with International Space Station astronauts.

Myers said "A Beautiful Planet" is a follow up of sorts to her popular 1990 film "Blue Planet." She said one of the biggest differences between the two was the permanence of the space station and long-term deployments of crew members, allowing her to get massive amounts of film to work with. She said much of the material was shot in a part of the International Space Station called the "cupola."

"The cupola is a wonderful viewing platform designed especially to look at Earth and the night sky," Myers said.

According to Myers, the astronauts said "we're going to bring you to your knees with imagery. They knocked me on my face. They shot 11 and a half terabytes of data. Earth scenes alone — 250,000-plus frames."

Myers showed photographs from the film to reception attendees — including stunning shots of the aurora borealis, the Southern California coastline, sections of the U.S. lit up at night, and a tightly formed tropical cyclone.

The museum is open daily beginning at 10 a.m. The price of admission — $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors 65-plus and $16.95 for children 3-12 years old — includes one IMAX film showing.

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