Microsoft goes for the universe with help from NASA

It seems like many moons ago now that we heard how something that Microsoft had done made Robert Scoble cry. While it only turned out to be some pretty incredible software we got to know as WorldWide Telescope I wonder if Robert would shed any further tears of joy about today’s news that Microsoft’s virtual universe is getting a huge boost from NASA.

The details from Brier Dudley on his blog say the deal involves more than 100 terabytes of data NASA will host at its Aimes Research Center that Microsoft will add to the telescope’s explorable online map of the skies later this year.

Also being added to the telescope is data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched in 2005. It’s been gathering high-resolution images and other data from Mars since 2006.

Under the arrangement, the telescope will also incorporate new moon images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that’s launching in May.

“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,” Ed Weller, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in the release.

Microsoft external research VP Tony Hey said the collaboration “will enable people around the world to explore new images of the Moon and Mars in a rich, interactive environment through the WorldWide Telescope.”

Ames director S. Pete Worden said the project is “a compelling astronomical resource and will help inspire our next generation of astronomers.”

Source: Brier Dudley – Seattle Times

Maybe someone should send Robert a box of Kleenex just in case.