Open Government at NASA is committed to making data available and enabling the public to engage that data. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is using video game technology to immerse the general public and mission personnel in the solar system and beyond. The Visualization Technology Applications and Development Group is creating 3D environments full of real NASA mission data, permitting exploration of the planet – and the cosmos.
“Eyes on the Earth” and “Eyes on the Solar System” are cross-platform, real-time, 3D-interactive applications that run inside a Web browser. Combining real-time spacecraft data and NASA imagery, the applications give users a unique and extraordinary view of the solar system by virtually transporting them across space and time to make first-person observations of NASA spacecraft in action as they explore the planets, moons, asteroids and comets. YOU can be an armchair astronaut and explore what’s happening all over earth and in space – real-time.
“Hundreds of gigabytes of spacecraft trajectory data, orbital parameters, planetary maps and other fascinating resources are available to the public via portals like the PDS, NAIF or HORIZONS. However, difficulty in processing and interpreting the various formats of that data put a barrier to access between it and the general public,” said Doug Ellison, the team’s Visualization Producer.
“What we’ve done with Eyes on the Solar System is take that data, put it all in context and wrap it in an experience that we think lets the public enjoy it and use it with almost no pre-existing knowledge of what that data is or how to make sense of it. It’s the very same data that the engineers use to navigate their spacecraft across the solar system. By unlocking it with ‘Eyes on the Solar System’, we’re letting the public come along for the ride and that’s a very powerful tool for both education and engagement.”
Ever wondered how many satellites are in orbit around the earth and how they intersect? Where Voyager 2 looks like and what it’s seeing? What it would look like to fly along real time with various satellites? What the actual data is about global temperature, sea level, the ozone layer – and what it means all put together? How the solar system is actually moving in real time? In these apps, /you/ control space and time – and all the data is real.
To check out Eyes on the Solar System: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eyes/
To check out Eyes on the Earth 3D: http://climate.nasa.gov/Eyes/