Washington, D.C. – Microsoft is catching up with Google and said it has signed an agreement to make planetary images and other data available to the public via the WorldWide Telescope website. The data is expected to become available later this year and eventually top a volume of 100 terabytes (TB).
NASA said that it will make the data available under a Space Act Agreement and builds on a prior collaboration with Microsoft that enabled NASA to develop 3-D interactive Microsoft Photosynth collections of the space shuttle launch pad and other facilities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, NASA signed a similar agreement with Google back in December 2006, which enabled Google to publish images and data about the moon and Mars and indicated the two companies were working on providing tools for real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3-D maps of the moon and Mars, real-time tracking of the International Space Station and the space shuttle.
In September of 2005, NASA and Google announced plans to collaborate on a number of technology-focused research-and-development activities at Moffett Field as well as a cooperation on large-scale data management, massively distributed computing and bio-info-nano convergence.