NASA gives public new internet tool to explore the solar system

Sep 04, 2011
NASA's new Web-based application, "Eyes on the Solar System," gives people the power to journey through the solar system without leaving their computers. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA is giving the public the power to journey through the solar system using a new interactive Web-based tool.

The "Eyes on the " interface combines video game technology and data to create an environment for users to ride along with agency spacecraft and explore the cosmos. Screen graphics and information such as planet locations and spacecraft maneuvers use actual space mission data.

"This is the first time the public has been able to see the entire solar system and our missions moving together in real time," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "It demonstrates NASA's continued commitment to share our science with everyone."

The uses the Unity game engine to display models of planets, moons, asteroids, comets and spacecraft as they move through our solar system. With keyboard and mouse controls, users cruise through space to explore anything that catches their interest. A free browser plug-in, available at the site, is required to run the Web application.

"You are now free to move about the solar system," said Blaine Baggett, executive manager in the Office of Communication and Education at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "See what NASA's spacecraft see -- and where they are right now -- all without leaving your computer."

Users may experience missions in real time, and "Eyes on the Solar System" also allows them to travel through time. The tool is populated with NASA data dating back to 1950 and projected to 2050.

The playback rate can be sped up or slowed down. When NASA's spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011, users could look ahead to see the mission's five-year journey to Jupiter in a matter of seconds.

Point of view can be switched from faraway to close-up to right "on board" spacecraft. Location, motion and appearance are based on predicted and reconstructed mission data. Dozens of controls on a series of pop-up menus allow users to fully customize what they see, and video and audio tutorials explain how to use the tool's many options. Users may choose from 2-D or 3-D modes, with the latter simply requiring a pair of red-cyan glasses to see.

"By basing our visualization primarily on mission data, this tool will help both NASA and the public better understand complex space science missions," said Kevin Hussey, manager of Visualization Technology Applications and Development at JPL, whose team developed "Eyes on the Solar System."

"Eyes on the Solar System" is in beta release. It has been demonstrated at science conferences, in classrooms and at the 2011 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas.

Designers are updating "Eyes on the Solar System" to include NASA science missions launching during the coming months, including GRAIL to the moon and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover.

"Eyes on the Solar System" and an introduction video are available at solarsystem.nasa.gov/eyes .

Updates on new features are available through the tool's Twitter account: twitter.com/NASA_Eyes .

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User comments : 7

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Objek Newbie
5 / 5 (3) Sep 04, 2011
What a nice application.,it would be so interesting to watch the solar system...
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 04, 2011
A gift. Brought to you by the American Government.
omatumr
1 / 5 (6) Sep 05, 2011
A gift. Brought to you by the American Government.


NASA also recorded and promised to release videos of changes in the Sun from its quietest period in years to the activity marking the beginning of solar cycle 24 !

www.irishweathero...26.html/

The videos will be the demise of the AGW and SSM scams, as well as world leaders, and leaders of the scientific community that ignored empirical facts:

Earths unstable heat source, a pulsar, causes continuous climate change and continuous evolution of life Earth:

http://dl.dropbox...5079.pdf

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (1) Sep 05, 2011
and if it doesnt its all a conspiracy, right?
Vendicar_Decarian
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 05, 2011
OmaTard is mentally ill.
DavidMcC
5 / 5 (3) Sep 05, 2011
If the Journal of Modern Physics is prepared to publish that kind of nonsense from Oliver, it shows just how badly strained the peer review system is!
TJ TOCCO
1 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2011
Why not use a 4-demensional planetary scanning laser imaging telescope. And see the object in space at ground zero. As the laser touches down on the planets surfaces. And sends back its data along its own beam of light. Like a color copier only it happens in space, through a man made worm hole of light. I made a major discovery, Antares light speed is 90% faster than the speed of light from the earth.
Thats light speed as it leaves from the star Antares is moving 9 times faster than that of light which leaves from the earth.