This is a project is FANTASTIC.
“The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a rich visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space telescopes in the world for a seamless, guided exploration of the universe.
WorldWide Telescope, created with Microsoft’s high-performance Visual Experience Engine™, enables seamless panning and zooming across the night sky blending terabytes of images, data, and stories from multiple sources over the Internet into a media-rich, immersive experience.”
(from the official site)
It also has interactive functionality whereby people can create their own virtual tours of the universe!
The visuals are absolutely amazing (I recommend downloading the high res version of the video). You can zoom in on anything and move around and change viewpoints – switching which satellite cameras view is displayed.
Astrophysicist Roy Gould presenting the technology highlights the value of this interactive element, he states that we are all storytellers at heart and this tool helps us create our own personal universe. He foresees a community of storytellers sharing stories and conversations enabling a dialogue with the universe.
It’s very cool and is a great platform for conversation and fictional creations….
RobertScoble cried when seeing this demoed…he blogs about it here
In summary he states:
“So, why cry over a telescope?
Because I just saw the world I live in, er, excuse me, the universe I live in in a new way that I never had imagined before.
I cried because I imagined all the kids, like my sons, who will be inspired by what they see. It took me back to the days when John Kennedy wanted us to go to the moon. Hint: there’s a lot more out there to explore.
I cried because I realized just how much work, money, and all that went into making these images. I never had access to them before. Certainly not in this way so I could compare them by clicking a button. As a taxpayer who’s helped pay for some of these telescopes it’s the first time I’ve seen the results of my and your, investments in our scientific research.
It’s human to look out at the sky and wonder what’s going on out there. This takes us a LOT further into our understanding of just what is.
And,, yes, that’s worth crying some inspirational tears. Thank you to Microsoft Research for inspiring me in a way that Microsoft hasn’t inspired me in years.”