Google has launched a new Chrome Experiment focused on ISEE-3, a small NASA spacecraft that has roamed the Solar System for 36 years. The craft has now been turned into a ‘citizen science’ project thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. The ISEE-3 is set to pass the Moon tomorrow and to mark this, Google has published a video documentary enhanced by WebGL graphics, a chance to explore data collected by the ISEE-3, and a live visualization of its current position – all built with the modern Web technologies the company likes to showcase.
Google seems to be on a bit of a space travel kick lately. The search-giant recently launched Google Maps for Mars and the Moon. At first, that seemed a bit odd; I mean, other than some NASA nerds, who really cares to view those terrains? Before you raise your hand and say you do, please know I did it extensively as a test, and saw nothing but rocks and craters. Quite frankly, I would sooner explore Dollywood; at least there is something to see. Sure enough though, Google seems committed to space, as today, the company announces that users of Google Chrome can get involved with ISEE-3. Don’t know what that is? I didn’t either. Google explains it by saying, “originally launched in 1978 to study the Sun, it was the first spacecraft in the world to fly by a comet and has been orbiting the sun for billions of miles since 1986”. Damn, it’s been travelling since the last time the Mets won the World Series! “In a new Chrome Experiment called A Spacecraft for All, you can follow the unlikely odyssey of the ISEE-3 using Chrome’s interactive WebGL graphics and video. You can re-live its story, read its re-activated data instruments, learn about its current position and trajectory — and explore space along the way. It’s all designed to make space science simple, fun and accessible enough for anyone eager to learn — whether you’re a Ph.D. or grade school student”,says Suzanne Chambers, Executive Producer & Space Cadet, Creative Lab New York.
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