Monday, March 23, 2009

NASA and Microsoft to Share Terabytes of Data with the Public

NASA and Microsoft announced plans to make the most interesting NASA content -- including high-resolution scientific images and data from Mars and the moon -- explorable on WorldWide Telescope, Microsoft's online virtual telescope for exploring the universe.


Under the joint agreement, NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., will process and host more than 100 terabytes, representing about 20,000 DVDs of data. WorldWide Telescope will incorporate the data later in 2009 and feature imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Launched in August 2005, MRO has been examining Mars with a high-resolution camera and five other instruments since 2006 and has returned more data than all other Mars missions combined.


"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," said Tony Hey, corporate vice president of Microsoft External Research. "WorldWide Telescope serves as a powerful tool for computer science researchers, educators and students to explore space and experience the excitement of computer science."


Also available will be images from a camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Scheduled to launch this May, LRO will spend at least a year in a low, polar orbit approximately 30 miles above the lunar surface collecting detailed information about the lunar environment.


The WorldWide Telescope is a Web 2.0 visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from ground- and space-based telescopes for a seamless, rich media guided exploration of the universe. Through WorldWide Telescope and Microsoft technology, people will be able to pan and zoom in on these images and the most interesting locations on Mars and the moon without distorted views at the poles.
http://www.nasa.govhttp://www.microsoft.com

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