NASA and Microsoft recently announced plans to make planetary images and data accessible over the Internet as part of the Space Act Agreement. NASA and Microsoft will jointly develop the technology and infrastructure needed to make the most interesting NASA content, including high-resolution scientific images and data from Mars and the moon, viewable on the WorldWide Telescope, an online visualization software environment from Microsoft that enables a computer to function as a virtual telescope. "Making NASA's scientific and astronomical data more accessible to the public is a high priority for NASA, especially given the new administration's recent emphasis on open government and transparency," says NASA's Ed Weiler.
NASA's Ames Research Center will process and host more than 100 terabytes of data, and the WorldWide Telescope will incorporate that data and feature imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The MRO has been examining Mars with a high-resolution camera and five other instruments since 2006 and has generated more data than all of NASA's other Mars missions combined. The collaborative effort also will make images available from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter when they are publicly released this fall.
"This collaboration between Microsoft and NASA will enable people around the world to explore new images of the moon and Mars in a rich, interactive environment through the WorldWide Telescope," says Microsoft External Research's Tony Hey. "WorldWide Telescope serves as a powerful tool for computer science researchers, educators, and students to explore space and experience the excitement of computer science."
From NASA News
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