It may not be as grand as the one featured on the starship Enterprise, but the new 65-inch high definition viewscreen onboard the International Space Station can certainly be seen as a step in that direction.
The new viewscreen, developed by Screen Innovations for NASA, was delivered aboard SpaceX on April 14th. The portable screen — a 1080p laser projector — can be rolled into the shape of a cylinder and deployed to any of the space station’s modules. Importantly, the device can function in microgravity under normal lighting conditions; its innovative ambient-light rejection projection screen is a must, given that the lights inside the ISS are never switched off.
The screen can be set up within seconds. After it’s unfurled, the astronauts attach each of its four corners to the station’s interior using a type of bungee cord. Incredibly, the screen is expected to work continuously for 30,000 hours, or 3.4 years. When rolled up, the screen occupies a space roughly 3-feet long and 2.5 inches in diameter.
Before the screen was installed, the only form of video communication available to ISS astronauts was via tablet-sized displays. With the new viewscreen, their window to the world has expanded dramatically.
[Via Screen Innovations]
Image: Screen Innovations.