Scientists created this flyover movie using digital elevation models and data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. The unique view of Pluto is from a vantage even closer than the spacecraft itself.
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ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration professor Mark Robinson on the historical significance of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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Arizona has long been a destination for stargazers and astronomers who take advantage of the state’s dark skies. Here are 15 amazing photos that show off the best Arizona has to offer.
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The Arizona Challenger Space Center is moving. But its 360-degree mural by the late Robert McCall, who did work for NASA, among others, will not be making the trip.
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Venus, Mars and the moon will appear next to each other after sunset Friday and Saturday
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On Sept 8, NASA plans to launch an SUV-sized spacecraft toward an asteroid named Bennu. The spacecraft’s mission is to collect material from the asteroid and return to Earth. The mission will last approximately seven years.
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NASA shares spectacular flyover view of Pluto
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Google is bringing you to space.
The search engine giant announced Thursday that its popular map imagery tool, Street View, will allow anyone a peek inside the International Space Station. Viewers will have access to complete 360-degree, panoramic imagery that shows how astronauts aboard the space station live.
“We will never know what it’s like to live and work in space, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring a taste of that to all the people who have ever dreamed of being an astronaut,” Deanna Yick, global program manager for Street View, told USA TODAY.
While clicking through each of the 15 parts of the space station — or modules — as well as Space X’s Dragon spacecraft, users will see dots overlaid on top of objects which, when clicked on, show annotations explaining what each item is and its purpose. For example, viewers will see exercise equipment folded up. An annotation reveals what it looks like in action and explains how astronauts exercise in zero-gravity.
The ISS was launched into Earth’s lower orbit in 1998 as a joint research hub for the US, Canada, Russia, Japan and Europe. At any given time, astronauts from several countries live and conduct research aboard the space station orbiting 250 miles above the planet.
Google’s Street View team has completed similar projects in hard-to-reach locations, including on top of mountains in the Alps and the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the team’s most ambitious project yet.
Mapping in a zero-gravity environment presented a unique set of challenges for Google. Typically, someone with a camera will physically go to a location Google wants to map. But since the ISS is orbiting the planet, that wasn’t possible.
With the help of NASA and an educational organization called CASIS, Google was assigned a French astronaut from the European Space Agency. The astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, used equipment already on board the ISS to map the entire station for Google.
Then there was the issue of gravity — or the lack thereof.
Individuals mapping for Google usually put a camera on a tripod, which is then rotated to get a full 360 degree view. In space, a tripod would just start floating.
“We usually use tripod to ground the imagery at a single point and rotate the camera around that point,” said Yick. “Without gravity, it’s basically impossible to have a single point that you’re rotating around.”
Google had to design an entirely new gravity-free method of collecting images. Working with a replica of the space station at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the company developed a solution: affix two bungee cords to the walls of a module, thus creating a fixed point for the camera. Pesquet then rotated himself around the point.
For four months, from February until May, Pesquet gradually collected photos which were then sent back to Earth and stitched together to form a 360 view.
“The ISS has technical equipment on all surfaces, with lots of cables and a complicated layout with modules shooting off in all directions—left, right, up, down. And it’s a busy place, with six crew members carrying out research and maintenance activities 12 hours a day,” said Pesquet in a statement. “There are a lot of obstacles up there, and we had limited time to capture the imagery, so we had to be confident that our approach would work.”
The result allows people on Earth an immersive look into what it feels like to be in space.
Yick said Google doesn’t have any more plans to bring Street View to space, but added that if they had the opportunity to bring cameras on the moon or Mars, she’d be “open” to it.
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