NASA Allows You To Explore The Solar System

September 6, 2011 at 8:00 am | Posted in Astronomy, Regular Feature, Science News | Leave a comment

For Science Tuesday this week I wanted to share with our readers this incredible new tool from NASA that allows you to explore the solar system using a phenomenal new interactive 3D program. The program is named “Eyes On The Solar System” and allows you to follow all deep space probes launched from Earth. You can pan around the solar system and follow each craft to every planet or moon it has visited. You can observe as the various craft enter or break orbit of each body they visit along the way.

You are required to download and install an additional plug-in for your web browser to use the program. It took me all of a minute to accomplish this simple task and when you begin using the program it becomes evident why the plug-in is necessary. I don’t think the team that built IE8 or Firefox 6 quite had this in mind.

Getting up close and personal with one of my favorite planetary systems.

After a short introduction by astronomer Amy Mainzer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a brief tutorial, you will be sailing around the Sol System, covering the distance of light minutes, to light days and months all with the click of a mouse. Once you arrive at a planet you can watch its satellites orbit in real time or you can speed up the process and watch the delicate dance of orbiting moons as they hurtle through gravity’s balanced dispatch. Be warned, if you’re as big of a space geek as I am you will be playing with this program for hours the first time you run it.

Here is the intro.

After hours of sailing around the Sol System and visiting the various planets therein I decided it was time to take a long view of things. I went in search of Voyager 1 and found it out past the Keipur Belt and ready to sail into the greater galaxy as the first representative of Earth and The Sol System to leave our little galactic neighborhood. Once past the termination shock of the influence of our sun’s gravity, other gravitational forces could pull Voyager 1 away from us at relative speeds greater than any other man made vessel could ever approach.

Say hi to the Milky Way for us!

So follow Ms. Mainzer’s instructions or you can click here to get started. Hopefully I’ll bump into you and we can grab a coffee on Titan. Have fun!

Also, I apologize for being absent last week. I try to ensure we get at least one good science article up every week but Hurricane Irene had other plans for my ability to use electricity.

by Revmacd For Roqoo Depot – Where Science Meets Science Fiction

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