November 13, 2010

Fly Around the Solar System

Voyager 2 looking back at the planets in Eyes on the Solar System.
NASA’s new beta version of Eyes on the Solar System, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech, lets you do just that. The web application is essentially a 3D model of the solar system, containing many of its bodies and a great number of space probes sent out from Earth (including Epoxi 2, which recently performed a flyby of comet Hartley 2). With a number controls, you can zoom around the solar system exploring these objects, with beautiful 3D models for each of them. You can also manipulate the time to explore where the objects and the probes were in the past, or where they will be in the future.

Overall, this is a very glorious and well done project. It’s already a great tool for learning more about our planet's local neighborhood, and as it accumulates even more data and more components of the solar system, it can only get better. I can’t wait until this project leaves beta status, and includes further inclusions like nebulae and galaxies. You can head over to the project site right now to try it out. You will have to install the Unity Web Player plug-in in order to use it, and you will be prompted to install it on the site.

Cassini and Saturn in Eyes on the Solar System
Halley's Comet in Eyes on the Solar System

No comments:

Post a Comment