A unique collaboration between Google and NASA was announced in a press release from the NASA Ames Research Center on Monday. The organizations have signed a Space Act Agreement that outlines a joint effort to work on a variety of challenging technical problems. This relationship will give NASA access to Google’s expertise in distributed computing and search to make NASA’s voluminous amounts of data searchable on the Internet.
The first issue the collaboration will focus on is making the useful items from NASA’s catalog available on the Internet including: real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3-D maps of the moon and Mars, and real-time tracking of the International Space Station.
Other collaborations include incorporating agency data sets into Google Earth, user studies and cognitive modeling for human computer interaction, and searching science data by utilizing existing Google products.
Teams from both organizations have already recently met to begin discussions of the many challenging computer science problems facing both organizations and possible joint collaborations that could help address them.
This is certainly exciting for armchair astronauts and amateur astronomers who can image the possibilities of a virtual space flight using Google Universe.