NASA offering virtual space travel

Sept. 6, 2011 at 6:45 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- NASA says its new interactive Web-based tool combining video game technology and NASA data allows people to make a virtual journey through the solar system.

The "Eyes on the Solar System" interface gives users an idea what it's like to ride along with agency spacecraft using screen graphics and information such as planet locations and spacecraft maneuvers taken from actual space mission data, a NASA release said.

"This is the first time the public has been able to see the entire solar system and our missions moving together in real time," Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington, said. "It demonstrates NASA's continued commitment to share our science with everyone."

The virtual environment displays models of planets, moons, asteroids, comets and spacecraft as the user moves through our solar system, using mouse and keyboard to explore anything that catches their interest, NASA officials said.

"You are now free to move about the solar system," said Blaine Baggett, executive manager in the Office of Communication and Education at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"See what NASA's spacecraft see -- and where they are right now -- all without leaving your computer."

"Eyes on the Solar System" is available at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eyes.

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