Scientists have always looked to the heavens for answers, and now Google will give others that opportunity, too. The Mountain View, Calif., tech company partnered with Slooh to provide a layer in Google Earth that brings live exploration to the masses.
The Slooh layer in Google Earth, unveiled Friday, supports a live astronomy feature bringing live space exploration down to earth. The Slooh "map the universe" layer integrates Slooh's Space Camera technology and worldwide network of powerful robotic mountaintop telescopes with the Google Earth application. Anyone, regardless of age or skill level, can explore outer space in real-time and play an active role in mapping the universe.
Google Sky lets stargazers view images from the Hubble Telescope and NASA satellites, but does not provide a way to participate in viewing live events like eclipses. Slooh is an online Space Camera that streams live views from robotic telescopes in the Canary Islands, Chile and Australia.
Unlike Google Earth, where users can view images captured by the Space Camera, the partnership with Slooh gives members the ability to control the telescopes or join predetermined featured missions. Members can capture instant digital photos, label them with their username and automatically upload to Google Earth to share with the world.
Google will also broadcast Slooh's live astronomy missions inside Google Earth and other Google properties. The plan is to provide live coverage feed of celestial events such as lunar eclipses, enhanced with audio narration by Slooh host and astronomer Bob Berman.
Serendipitously, earlier this week when MediaPost commented to Brad Bender, product management director for the Google Display Network, about being surprised that Google was not participating in low-orbit space travel by building software for its own craft, he just laughed.