08:08 AM

Earth Scientists Show World in New Light with iPad App

Software and media specialists at NASA, including several employees from the Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research (GESTAR) program, have now made it possible to hold Earth in the palm of your hand, thanks to a new iPad app released on July 26.

The NASA Visualization Explorer, otherwise known as NASA Viz, was developed at the Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. It givers users the ability to peruse extraordinary images, video, and information about NASA's latest Earth science research, including high-resolution movies and stills created from real satellite data. Interviews with scientists, imagery from supercomputer modeling efforts, and social networking interfaces for Facebook and Twitter will also be accessible on the app.

"The NASA visualization app is the latest step in a rich tradition of content production and application development," said Helen-Nicole Kostis, project manager and GESTAR research scholar. "With its release, I'm inviting everyone on a journey of scientific knowledge and visual wonder."

Currently, the app offers six features as part of the launch; however, the app editorial team plans to develop two new science features per week, publishing them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Future stories could possibly include features about the Sun, the other planets in our Solar System, and exotic objects far out in the cosmos.

"The NASA Viz app is an educational new media tool designed to transform abstract concepts that we analyze every day here at NASA Goddard into a hands-on experience that is accessible to a wide audience," said William Corso, USRA-GESTAR director. "Using this unique vehicle in area schools, for example, we can inspire a whole new generation of potential NASA scientists to someday carry on our mission of research and discovery."

In development since April 2010, the NASA Viz application is free to the public and available from the App Store via iTunes. To download the app, please visit http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/nasaviz/index.html .

The mission of the NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) is to facilitate scientific inquiry and outreach within NASA programs through visualization. To that end, the SVS works closely with scientists in the creation of visualization products, systems, and processes in order to promote a greater understanding of Earth and Space Science research activities at Goddard Space Flight Center and within the NASA research community.

NASA GESTAR conducts research collaboratively, mainly within GSFC's Earth Sciences Division, but also with Solar Systems Exploration Division, Office of Education, and Office of Public Affairs. Scientists and staff at GESTAR, in collaboration with NASA and other investigators, conceive and develop new, space-based missions; provide mission requirements; conduct research that explains the behavior of Earth and other planetary systems; and create engaging media that tell NASA's story of exploration and discovery on Earth and beyond.