GREENBELT, Md., March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The NASA Visualization Explorer is now delivering new opportunities to explore NASA's research of the sun, planetary bodies, Earth and the universe to your iPad.
This is not a new product — but is a great expansion of an existing one. Since July 2011, the Visualization Explorer iPad app, NASA Viz for short, has delivered two stories each week with a strong focus on Earth science. That two-story-per-week schedule will continue, but now with stories that cover the breadth of the agency's science mission and continue to highlight NASA's artful data visualization.
NASA's Science Mission Directorate is organized into four disciplines: Heliophysics, Planetary, Astrophysics and Earth science. This structure has put NASA scientists at the forefront of discovery about our home planet; the sun; planets in our solar system and beyond; and the farthest reaches of the universe.
Now the app is putting imagery and data from this exploration at your fingertips. The app will showcase results from legendary spacecraft such as the Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager; from the Earth-observing satellite fleet; and from newcomers delivering stunning pictures, such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory and Cassini. The app will also feature occasional content from the NASA Earth Observatory Web site, dedicated to exploring the many satellite views of Earth.
"It is very exciting that NASA Visualization Explorer will now bring stories from all NASA science efforts to our readers," said Horace Mitchell, head of NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. and a NASA Viz project director.
NASA Viz is a content app, designed originally to highlight work of the Scientific Visualization Studio. Data visualization at NASA involves taking a massive stream of satellite observations and turning it into visually appealing and accurate representations of Earth, the solar system and beyond. Since its launch in July 2011, the free app is approaching 500,000 downloads from Apple's iTunes Store, and a team of NASA visualizers, video producers and writers has produced more than 70 stories.
The app will continue to publish new stories each Tuesday and Thursday. Stories about heliophysics, planetary science and astrophysics research will now begin to blend in with a continued stream of Earth science stories. This began in recent weeks with stories such as "'Alien' Material," about recent discoveries regarding interstellar wind; "Galactic Lobes," about enormous gamma-ray structures projecting out from the center of the Milky Way; and "Solar Fury," which documented this January's solar storms.
It is the goal of the NASA Viz team to create content that will tantalize students and lifelong learners – anyone with an insatiable curiosity to see the wonders and oddities of this universe, as captured by NASA.
Shortly after the iPad's initial launch, a team of media specialists seized on its potential for presenting NASA's unique collection of data visualization and satellite imagery. The group's effort resulted in the Visualization Explorer. The app's science features include satellite data visualizations, conceptual animations, and now, the results from NASA's high-energy astrophysics missions and space observatories.
The app also includes social networking interfaces, including links to Facebook and Twitter, for easy sharing of stories.