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Visualized: First photo using ISS-mounted ISERV Pathfinder zooms in on Panama

Nicole Lee, @nicole

It's been a while since we last heard of the ISERV Pathfinder, an imaging instrument that consists of a camera, telescope and pointing system that was sent up to the International Space Station last July. Now it appears it's safely installed inside the Destiny module on the ISS and has captured its first ever image, seen above, a few weeks ago on February 16th. The high-resolution picture is of the Rio San Pablo, an ecological transition zone that's marked as a protected area by the National Environment Authority of Panama. Captured at three to seven frames per second with about 100 images per pass, photos like these are designed to transmit details of natural disasters and environmental mishaps to developing nations.

Even though NASA Marshall in Huntsville, Alabama is at the helm, it's in cahoots with researchers in Central America, East Africa and the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region to carry out its goal. Of course, they're still in the starting stages at the moment -- a few outstanding issues include the amount of sunlight needed and if the geometry of the ISS window affects the image -- but NASA hopes to open up the ISERV to other scientists in a few months once it has all its kinks worked out. To check out the stunning "first light" picture above in its full resolution, head on over to the source below.

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