Posted: 07/14/10 06:00 AM
Do you want to go to Mars? Of course you do. And of course you can’t. Sorry.
But you can find an awfully good simulation online. NASA and Microsoft are presenting tens of thousands of high resolution images from Mars that you can get to through your computer. They’re NASA images presented at Worldwide Telescope dot org, a site run by Microsoft Research. The two organizations worked together to take a vast storehouse of pictures and present them in a way that was readily accessible for people online, either through a downloadable browser patch or through a regular web view (that is somewhat less dramatic). The result is pretty darn cool. You can see the treads left by the Mars rover, you can see rock formations, you can really patrol around the planet.
Ross Beyer is a Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames Research. He fills us in on what you might be able to find on your mission to Mars. And Dan Fay from Microsoft explains the process of getting all these images into a form that was navigable from your computer.
Incidentally, I asked Dan if this program could work with a Mac. He said it would but only if the Mac was running Windows 7.
Also in this show, we play p0nd and try not to worry about what it all means.