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NASA Computer Program is 'Hot Download' on the Internet
10.26.04
 
A NASA computer program that is able to zoom in from a global view of Earth to reveal regional 3D pictures of climate, elevation, vegetation and cities by population, has become a 'hot download' on the Internet.

Hurricane Kate in the Atlantic Ocean Available free of charge, the PC-compatible program proved so popular in its first week on the Web, that 100,000 Internet users downloaded 'World Wind.' The NASA Landsat satellite image and elevation data server computer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., received more than 1,000 requests for data per second from users seeking to visualize some of Earth's more interesting events, including wildfires and volcanoes, from the millions of images acquired by Landsat satellites during more than 30 years of flight.

Image left: Screenshot of Hurricane Kate over the Atlantic Ocean using World Wind software. Image courtesy: NASA.

"Our servers are on fire," said Patrick Hogan, NASA's Learning Technologies program manager at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley. "The software program will take you anywhere on the planet - inside Yosemite Valley, through the Grand Canyon or over the Himalayas," explained Hogan, who is in charge of World Wind's development.

People can virtually "explore the world" using their personal computers equipped with the new program. NASA World Wind is delivering terabytes of global NASA satellite data that are a result of years of daily observations of precipitation, temperature, barometric pressure and much more.

Computer users from more than 100 nations have acquired the free World Wind program via the Internet, though most users are from the United States. "NASA is working to establish more server capability to handle the heavy demand for data by users of the NASA World Wind program," Hogan said.

Urban Area of Washington D.C. Image right: Screenshot of Washington D.C. Image courtesy: NASA.

In addition to NASA data, World Wind is able to access public domain United States Geological Survey (USGS) aerial photography and topographic maps. There are an estimated 10,000 daily users of World Wind. To download World Wind, visit:

http://learn.arc.nasa.gov/worldwind/

Later this month, the NASA Learning Technologies program also will establish an international agreement to support use of the NASA World Wind software by schools and students from other countries.

"An International Space Act Agreement will be signed between Australia, the United Kingdom and NASA to develop a 10-week, 10th grade curriculum on the 'Origin of Life' based on World Wind and other NASA Learning Technology tools," Hogan said. "This will involve full-time teachers from the two countries, several astrobiology research scientists, two university instructional technology departments, two governments, the Australian Center for Astrobiology, the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the NASA Learning Technologies program," Hogan added.

"This International Space Act Agreement will be signed October 26, by Bob Carr, the premier of New South Wales, Neal Newman, the NASA attaché to Australia, and other dignitaries from the U.K.," Hogan explained.

 
 
John Bluck, NASA Ames Research Center