Marketing the moon, Google and NASA

There is a lot of interest Google is showing in the space research.

This is a perfect and open way to market a space project. If you can successfully land a privately funded craft on the lunar surface and survive long enough to complete the mission goals of roaming about the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending a defined data package, called a “Mooncast”, back to Earth. You win the Google Lunar X PRIZE which is $30 million (USD).

NASA, Google, and some of the foremost authorities in science and technology have teamed up to create a new school, dubbed Singularity University, that is looking to solve “humanity’s grand challenges”. The university is named after the idea of the singularity – an extremely rapid period of technological progress. And damn if it doesn’t sound like the coolest school ever.

NASA and Google have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines plans for cooperation on a variety of areas, including large-scale data management, massively distributed computing, bio-info-nano convergence, and encouragement of the entrepreneurial space industry. The MOU also highlights plans for Google to develop up to one million square feet within the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field.

The Moon in Google Earth was jointly developed by Google, the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, and the SETI Institute as part of NASA’s Planetary Content project.

Data sets for the Moon in Google Earth were developed with the assistance of the United States Geologic Survey (USGS), Arizona State University and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency provided terrain data from the Kaguya orbiter. The initial release does not contain any imagery from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. To learn more about Moon in Google Earth, visit:

Google’s founders also got the right to use a NASA runway for their private jets. It is suggested that the deal is more likely driven by more terrestrial concerns rather than space research. Namely, the killer traffic between the suburbs where most Silicon Valley executives live and the San Francisco or San Jose airports where they keep their private planes. Read the complete story about Google founders using NASA runway.

Google execs’ fighter jet is no toy, NASA says. The fighter jet brought quietly to Moffett Field ,will help the agency collect atmospheric data and fight wildfires.  But some observers remain skeptical, noting that the jet, while lucrative for NASA Ames, has yet to collect any data. Funny thing is that the only equipment used on them so far is handheld cameras, said Steve Zornetzer, deputy director of NASA Ames, in an e-mail.

Google pays NASA more than $1.3 million a year and lets the agency outfit its planes with scientific instruments.

What a way to celebrate 40th anniversary of man’s walk to the moon, and thanks to Google for making it extraordinary. A lot many people who are already familiar with Google Earth now can feel Google Moon. Read my last article Google takes you to the moon.

But this is not all, Google is doing good job close to ground also, as they really believe in low carbon approach. Instead of using lawn mowers powered by polluting gasoline they decided to rent goats. Read more on Google rented goats.

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