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March 15, 2012

NASA Resource Brings Big Science Data Home

Datanami Staff

Never one to shun the opportunity to show off the beauty of science, NASA is opening the doors a little wider on the discoveries and aesthetic joys that spawn from powerful big data visualizations.

NASA announced today that it has expanded on its popular NASA Viz iPad application, which delivers two stories per week and will continue to do so, but with the ability for users to explore even more areas in NASA research.

The space agency says that the app will bring to light new research and visualization-based insight about the sun, our own planet, and the greater universe.

According to NASA, the app will showcase findings from the Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager; from the Earth-observing satellite fleet; and from newcomers delivering stunning pictures, such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory and Cassini.

Users will also be privy to occasional content from the NASA Earth Observatory site, which storehouses some mind-blowing satellite views of our own hunk of rock.

“It is very exciting that NASA Visualization Explorer will now bring stories from all NASA science efforts to our readers,” said Horace Mitchell, head of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. and a NASA Viz project director.

The original purpose of the app wasn’t just to demo what was going on behind closed doors at NASA. Instead, NASA Viz got its start as a way to highlight work that had been taking place within the Scientific Visualization Studio.

As the space agency reports, “Data visualization at NASA involves taking a massive stream of satellite observations and turning it into visually appealing and accurate representations of Earth, the solar system and beyond.”

Shortly after the initial launch, a team of media specialists seized on its potential for presenting NASA’s unique collection of data visualization and satellite imagery. The group’s effort resulted in the Visualization Explorer. The app’s science features include satellite data visualizations, conceptual animations, and now, the results from NASA’s high-energy astrophysics missions and space observatories.

The app will continue to publish new stories each Tuesday and Thursday. Stories about heliophysics, planetary science and astrophysics research will now begin to blend in with a continued stream of Earth science stories.

This began in recent weeks with stories such as “‘Alien’ Material,” about recent discoveries regarding interstellar wind; “Galactic Lobes,” about enormous gamma-ray structures projecting out from the center of the Milky Way; and “Solar Fury,” which documented this January’s solar storms.

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