Microsoft’s NASA ‘video game’

NASA and Microsoft have released an interactive, 3D photographic collection of the space shuttle Endeavour preparing for its mission to the International Space Station.

Endeavour is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida, today.

People around the world will be able to view hundreds of high-resolution photographs of Endeavour, Launch Pad 39A and the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy in a 3D viewer.

NASA and Microsoft’s Live Labs team developed the online collection using photographs and a photo imaging technology called Photosynth. By clicking and dragging, viewers will be able to zoom in and out of the 3D images online.

‘With Photosynth, we take pictures of an environment and knit them together into an experience that people can move through like a 3D video game,’ said Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Microsoft Live Labs architect.

NASA also hoped to release similar collections for future missions.

‘We see potential to use Photosynth for a variety of future mission activities, from inspecting the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope to viewing landing sites on the moon and Mars,’ said Chris Kemp, director of Strategic Business Development at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The NASA Photosynth collection also includes the return of the space shuttle Atlantis to the Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility from Edwards Air Force Base, California, in July.

Click here to view the NASA images.