Washington, May 8 (ANI): NASA has released an interactive, 3-D photographic collection of internal and external views of the International Space Station (ISS) and a model of the next Mars rover.
NASA and Microsoft's Virtual Earth team developed the online experience with hundreds of photographs and Microsoft's photo imaging technology called Photosynth.
Using a click-and-drag interface, viewers can zoom in to see details of the space station's modules and solar arrays or zoom out for a more global view of the complex.
"Photosynth brings the public closer to our spaceflight equipment and hardware," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
"The space station pictures are not simulations or graphic representations but actual images taken recently by astronauts while in orbit. Although you're not flying 220 miles above the Earth at 17,500 miles an hour, it allows you to navigate and view amazing details of the real station as though you were there," he added.
The software uses photographs from standard digital cameras to construct a 3-D view that can be navigated and explored online.
"This stunning collection of photographs using Microsoft's Photosynth interactive 3-D imaging technology provides people around the world with an exciting new way to explore the space station and learn about NASA's upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
"This collaboration with Microsoft offers the public the opportunity to participate in future exploration using this innovative technology," he added.
The Mars rover imagery gives viewers an opportunity to preview the hardware of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, currently being assembled for launch to the Red Planet in 2011.
According to Fuk Li, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, "We are making this enhanced viewing experience available from the Mars Science Laboratory project because we're eager for the public to share in the excitement that's building for this mission." (ANI)