NASA And Google Team Up For A Fantastic Solar System Projection

Now you can view stunning 3D models of planets, moons and spaceships in your surroundings using nothing but your smartphone, thanks to a new partnership between NASA and Google.

Our solar system is populated by a multitude of breathtakingly beautiful planets and moons, each steeped in its own unique history and, in many cases, culturally significant. However, the inherent cost, difficulty and danger of space travel means that the overwhelming majority of us will never leave the surface of our homeworld.

Fortunately, Google and NASA have teamed up to bring us a new way to experience our little pocket of the cosmos, putting over 60 augmented reality 3D models of solar system bodies and robotic explorers in the palm of your hand.

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Earth’s moon projected via AR technology (Credit: Google, NASA)

Just Google a planet like Jupiter, and you’ll see a new “3D Model” box appear either on the side of the page on desktop, or just below the initial search result if you’re browsing on a mobile device.

On the desktop, you’ll receive a 3D model of your astronomical career for you to manipulate and explore at your leisure, along with a well-organized set of facts and figures.

However, to make the most of the new search features, you’ll need a smartphone. By clicking “Show in your space” in the 3D model window, you can access a new augmented reality feature that allows you to project entire planets into your real environment via your phone screen.

These models are fully 3D and scalable, meaning you can make them as massive or as tiny as you want. As it stands, you can physically walk around and study each of the eight planets in our solar system, plus the dwarf planet Pluto, the Sun, and a host of weird and wonderful moons.

An AR projection of NASA's Space Launch System rocket (Credit: Google, NASA)

An AR projection of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket (Credit: Google, NASA)

In addition to getting closer to celestial bodies, you can also project AR models of famous spaceships and launch vehicles into your surroundings. State-of-the-art observatories such as the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble and the Parker Solar Probe are all available through the Google AR search function, as is the Leviathan Space Launch System rocket.

You can also see lovingly recreated models of Neil Armstrong’s historic spacesuit, the Apollo 11 command capsule, and groundbreaking spacecraft such as the Voyager 1 probe, which now sits approximately 14.6 billion miles away. Earth.

A 3D augmented reality model of Saturn (Credit: Google, NASA)

A 3D augmented reality model of Saturn (Credit: Google, NASA)

The new partnership also resulted in The “Our Solar System” project being added to Google Arts & Culture. Here you can delve into the history of our solar system and learn about humanity’s ongoing mission to explore and understand the universe we live in.

There are also curated tours of the solar system, features on planets, and galleries of astrophotography captured by astronauts and spacecraft.

So congratulations, the power of AR technology just gave you a free pass to put Uranus wherever you want, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop you.

Anthony Wood is a freelance science writer for IGN

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