Combining current and historic video with state-of-the-art computer animation, the virtual exhibit takes a World's Fair approach to NASA history, featuring pavilions that host each decade of the agency's challenges and achievements. Visitors will get unique insight into NASA's activities over the years, including a wide range of exploration and research initiatives, and a glimpse into the future.
"We're very excited to have people come and take a look at NASA's history," said Brian Dunbar, NASA's Internet services manager at Headquarters in Washington.
"We've been able to take a wide range of material and weave it into a virtual tour that allows people to explore at their own pace," he added.
The exhibit's host is an animated robot named Automa, who will guide visitors through their journey.
Also assisting everyone throughout their tour are important historic and cultural figures of the past 50 years of aerospace history, including astronauts, presidents, astronomers, and other popular icons associated with NASA's history.
For example, in the 1970s pavilion, visitors will see a presentation of NASA's Voyager and Viking missions hosted by an avatar of the late astronomer Carl Sagan, complete with excerpts from his popular television series "Cosmos."
"We're making our first real foray into animation," said David Mould, associate administrator for public affairs, Headquarters, Washington.
"It represents a new communications medium for us and we have been fortunate to get the support of a lot of people that has enabled us to include some recognizable historic figures as part of this interactive commemoration," he added.