Google and NASA shaping new horizons


Google and NASA partnership started off with a Space Act Agreement 2006 has come to manifest many ground breaking technological advances that have been pivotal in shaping new horizons. They have come a long way from laying grounds for joint ventures that ranged from data problems to real-time tracking of Space stations to Lunar X-Prize; laying foundations for Space Politics in 2013.

In 2006 when NASA sought help from Google to spread data acquired in various missions on the internet the end result of this collaboration was thought to be a virtual experience of moon and mars now almost a decade later they one step to bringing this to reality with Google’s 3D Mapping Technology. Prior to their agreement in 2006 NASA and Google had already been working on several small scale projects. By 2008 Google had leased 42.2 aces of unimproved land to build 1.2 million square feet campus style Research and Development facility at NASA Research Park.

Then came Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) housing 512 Qubit D-Wave Two Quantum Computer at Ames Campus. This is another huge leap forward since a Quantum Computer can run all kind of solutions a regular computer cannot; owing to its Qubit system. Bits in this system can have 0 and 1 values simultaneously where in Binary System bits have singular values either 0 or 1.

Google announced X-Prize Lunar competition that would allow cheaper transportation to the Moon and back to study different aspect of life on moon. Moon in the coming ages would be the 8th continent of the World and NASA has already started plantation process on the surface of moon to contemplate the possibilities and risks involved. Out of the 33 teams that entered the competition 18 are still fighting for the Grand Prize $20 Million. X-Prize Lunar competition has moved the House of Congress to pass a bill that marked the Apollo landing site a Historic Park.

The collaboration that started in 2006 is now coming to life through the recently announced Google ATAP Project Tango. Mobile devices with a human-scale understand of space and motion. Google brought together robotics and computer technology powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, 4GB Ram, 128GB Storage, motion tracking camera and integrated depth sensing. Google plans on making a Tablet Development Kit available for purchase later this year. Once the device comes out it would reshape our world without disturbing the geographic boundaries. Anyone with a Tango device would be able to 3D Map his reality to create new his own virtual reality.

Following the first announcement Google also announced Project Tango’s Collaboration with NASA’s Sphere robots. Tango 3D Mapping technology has been integrated into the Sphere Robot’s brain. This technology allows the robot to map the space shuttle and move in zero gravity zones using a CO2 jet pack.

In the years to come Sphere Robots are speculated to not only help astronauts in their daily chores but would also map everything beyond the Earth’s hemisphere providing the data to recreate a virtual experience of every single trip and depths of space explored. Where on one hand Google in its collaboration with NASA is laying foundations for new virtual possibilities they are now on the verge to really bring the space down to Earth.

About the author

Saad B Murtaza

Saad B. Murtaza is a journalist and creative writer based in Karachi. He has been working as an Investigative/Diplomat Reporter since 2010 and as a Creative Writer since 2008.

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