Text Size
NASA Goddard Visitor Center: Science on a Sphere

[image-62]This mesmerizing visualization system developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses computers and video projectors to display animated data on the outside of a suspended, 6-foot diameter, white sphere. Four strategically placed projectors work in unison to coat the sphere with data such as "3-D surface of the Earth and Nighttime Lights," "Moon and Mars" and "X-ray Sun."

Built as a vehicle for education and public outreach programs, "Science on a Sphere" targets three audiences: walk in visitors and scheduled event participants, students and teachers participating in formal education exercises, and science professionals who use the system as a platform to share their work with the science community.

Goddard's "Science on a Sphere" video library includes a vast array of visualizations and animations, as well as the following produced films.


Footprints logo


"Footprints," the first fully produced movie for the "Science on a Sphere" platform, was crafted in-house at NASA Goddard. The film consists of a visually rich presentation: Earth appears in a variety of guises, from depictions of the biosphere to planetary views of city lights at night to dramatic examinations about the science of hurricane formation. The movie also includes other worlds, with a special presentation of our moon and Mars. More than a showcase for discrete data sets, the movie provides a conceptual framework about the human drive to explore. By combining data with narration, inventive pictures and dramatic sound, "Footprints" seeks to engage and enthuse audiences about the real-world uses and majesty of NASA's observations.

photo of a block of ice

Frozen: Cold Matters

In an era when change itself seems to be the subject holding people's attention, NASA presents a movie that depicts the changing Earth. Called "Frozen," this film introduces the idea of our transitioning home planet in ways that have never been seen before."Frozen" showcases the global cryosphere, those places on Earth where temperatures don't generally rise above water's freezing point. As one of the most directly observable climate gauges, the changing cryosphere serves as a proxy for larger themes.



Jupiter is big. But you know that much already. Three hundred and eighty million miles from Earth, the solar system’s largest planet spins like a sizzling top in the night, massive and powerful beyond all comparison short of the sun itself. "LARGEST" examines the gas giant of Jupiter like a work of art, like a destination of celestial wonder.

"Loop" superimposed over Earth image


When balance teeters, movement results. This simple idea is the fuel for "Loop," which explores natural forces that propel circulation patterns on Earth. Engines of circulation pump energy and matter, and "Loop" presents circulation's story in poetic, energetic and compelling cinema.

Image Token: 
Science on a Sphere displaying imagery of the Western Hemisphere.
Image Token: 
Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Rob Garner