NASA World Wind Evolves into Something Extraordinary

Hey, my project is online ! After much learning of Linux bash commands, CGI and mySQL, I can now serve out a NASA World Wind layer made up of the exact Mars Global Surveyor images that you want. From about the year 2000 to the end of the MGS mission I explored various MGS images. I was a remote explorer on Mars. Looking at some of the most alien landscapes I’ve ever seen, and yet finding some that were hauntingly familiar. Now I can see where all those images were that I was looking at…

Now, this is getting quite interesting in terms of Mars exploration. Already international plans are in operation to return to the Moon. Via the ISS … to construct a Moon Base. That base will one day take us on to Mars. I should really do some stuff for the Moon as well as that is where the action will be soon. Anyway, all in good time. The point with World Wind though is that it is being used to simulate and display very accurate Scientific data. I’m beginning to think of it like Seven of Nine’s Astro Metrics Lab in Star Trek Voyager . Of course this is exactly what it is ! Maybe someone already has it running on a wrap around (what’s the name?) screen as big as your wall ? Anyway, with all this accurate data the next incarnation of World Wind is written in Java. Not only that, it is extensible. It’s easy to write complex add ons for it, way beyond the capabilities of current ones (good as those are!). But forget all those clunky, slow Java apps you’ve used on the web before. This thing downloads fast and can cut it with some of the latest game/sim engines out there by the look of it …

As long as you have Java installed properly then click on the link further down this page and the entire NASA World Wind / DiSTI F16 application will load. It’s not a browser plugin but a separate application. It took me a while to get the vid above. I had to get the hang of the f16 first ;).

So can you imagine this ? I’m thinking entire, accurate, first person environments of the International Space Station coupled with the Scientific analysis data of World Wind. What do all the aspects of Earth’s atmosphere look like from the ISS ? Maybe from that point of view the data looks kinda different ?

What about a Moon Buggy you can drive ? So you can see all that Moon data from the POV of future Moon Base dwellers ? A Mars Buggy would be nice as well.

Maybe I’m letting my video game interests get the better of me. After all the F16 demo is meant to show the possibilities that World Wind now provides, not how it can compete with the latest games. A lot of Scientific data does depend on how it is presented though. For example from an educational perspective a few printed graphs are not going to hold the attention of a class for as long as something running in World Wind. Could all this be a way to capture the attention of the “video game generation” ? To pull them out of their perma PS2 wars into the REAL world of Moon bases and future Mars, Earth ?

DJ Barney

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