Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Microsoft, NASA Allow For 3D Shuttle View 84

C|Net reports that a 3D software version of the space shuttle Endeavor is in the works, thanks to a collaboration project between Microsoft and NASA. The Photosynth viewer will allow fans of the space program an unprecedented level of detail in examining the shuttle and its surrounds at the Kennedy Space Center. ""It's much like a 3D video game--people can explore, walk around or fly around the shuttle," said Adam Sheppard, group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs, which developed the viewer. NASA said that the project could lead to more initiatives with the software giant. Chris Kemp, director of strategic business development at NASA's Ames Research Center, said that, for example, NASA could use the Photosynth technology on future space missions for activities such as inspecting the International Space Station and viewing landing sites on the moon."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft, NASA Allow For 3D Shuttle View

Comments Filter:
  • by hsdpa ( 1049926 ) *
    This sounds really neat. Have to try it and explore. Have anyone here tried it already?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by MoHaG ( 1002926 )
      I remember that this kind of thing used to be done with VRML []...
      • by hsdpa ( 1049926 ) *
        I've tried that too for about 5 years ago or so, but I didn't like the way it worked.. I just tried Photosynth as well, and yeah - those demos are rather nice.
        I hope that this project will work out well and that it will show us the inside of a space shuttle in a new way. 360-180-panoramas are rather cool (those where you can look at any direction), but you can't move around. This project sounds like a seamless variant though, so I hope that it will be a pleasant surprise to try it when a final is relesed.
      • Remember the XFL (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WED Fan ( 911325 )

        Remember the fly around stuff the XFL used? They had a ton of cameras stationed around the stadium and then used software to fill in the gaps. It was one of the cool things that came out of that abomination. On playback, they would fly around the scene and you could get a better idea of what the QB or receiver sees.

        Now that they are bringing the technology to the home user this could be really cool, being in control of the fly around.

  • by D-Cypell ( 446534 ) on Monday August 06, 2007 @05:52AM (#20128283)
    I think they should include a 3D representation of what they inside of the shuttle looks like after a few drinks. Sort of a 'before and after' kind of thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sumdumass ( 711423 )
      Lets just hope that armed guards don't rip the image from your screen in the middle of viewing it.
      • Lets just hope that armed guards don't rip the image from your screen in the middle of viewing it.

        Yeah, it's interesting that they wanna classify everything about the Saturn V, but want everybody to see the Shuttle. Almost as though they're trying to say, "Here, look at this nifty piece of engineering. Please steal it and go broke making it work."

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      I want a "Here's what it will look like after it's phased out in just a few years" 3-D view, showing it in a museum. Or maybe we could get a "Here's what we have to replace it" view, showing an empty pad.
    • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

      I think they should include a 3D representation of what they inside of the shuttle looks like after a few drinks. Sort of a 'before and after' kind of thing.
      Just think of how that female astronaut (two bagger, one bag on her and one bag on you in case her breaks) will look in that diaper! See, before - eh? After - WOW!
    • Seriously, does anyone know of a 3D model of the inside of a Shuttle? I have a graphic novel I'm working on which could benefit greatly from the ability to set up some 3D scenes to use for reference drawing the interiors.
  • Spelling! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's British English "Endeavour", not American English "Endeavor".

    Because the British used to be good explorers, once.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      Ain't nothin' worth explorin' any more ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SpringRevolt ( 1046 )

      The space shuttle Endeavour is named after HMB Endeavour, the ship (bark) used by Captain James Cook on his trip to
      the Pacific encountering ("discovering would have been the contemporary term, I guess) Australia, New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef (amongst others).

      (Actually, there have been several Endeavours in British Naval History).

      Cook's Endeavour arrived home safely and (arguably) eventually sank off of Rhode Island.

      Cook himself died at the hand of uppity native Hawaiian - they paid the price event
      • by WED Fan ( 911325 )

        Cook himself died at the hand of uppity native Hawaiian - they paid the price eventually, of course.

        It is reported that the Hawaiian chieftan was offended by Cook joking around with his daughter. Cook reportedly said, "Kamanaiwannalaiya." It is still unclear in most historians minds as to whether it was the insult to the daughter or the use of a really bad Hawaiian joke that caused the chief to order Cook's execution.

  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <[ku.oc.dohshtrae] [ta] [2pser_ds]> on Monday August 06, 2007 @07:00AM (#20128515)
    As I understand it (I'm a Brit so may not be quite correct) NASA, as a Federal Government entity, are under some sort of mandate that their creations must be released into the Public Domain.

    Does this extend to third parties working for and on behalf of NASA?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nivix ( 716034 ) *
      CENDI Copyright Task Group FAQ []:

      Unlike works of the U.S. Government, works produced by contractors under government contracts are protected under U.S. Copyright Law. (See Schnapper v. Foley, 667 F.2d 102 (D.C. Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 948 (1982).) The ownership of the copyright depends on the terms of the contract. Contract terms and conditions vary between civilian agencies or NASA and the military.

    • Literally everything NASA makes is created by contractors. They do prototype engineering and some physical prototype development in-house and then contract it out for final changes, drawings, documentation, etc. With that said, I know as a contractor, regardless of our copyright, if my company wanted to release or barter with NASA's information we are prohibited by export control laws. In some contracts the company owns the resulting intellectual property, and in some it does not but the unvarying factor se
  • Need another software application

  • On the one hand, they are taking away our posters of the Saturn V rocket. 0/0215204 []

    On the other hand, they are giving us "an unprecedented level of detail in examining the shuttle".

    I'm confused.

    • Yeah, I guess it's a lot harder to turn Endeavour into an ICBM than the Saturn V.
    • There's not really anything about the shuttle that's useful in making a missile aside from the main engines which will probably be conspicuously missing from MS's 3D program. Saturn V is just one big missile. It's comparable to making a 3D program of the Apollo command module. There's not much in there useful to missile engineers. Not that I agree with any of it though. There's nothing all that secret about rocket engines that hasn't been printed before.
  • Mine's a pint, chaps.
  • KSC.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Monday August 06, 2007 @07:35AM (#20128655) Journal
    I also highly encourage everyone to actually GO to Kennedy Space Center. The have a lot of exhibits including a Saturn V rocket that's on it's side, indoors. It's only an hour's drive from Orlando and is a great way to spend a day. Unfortunately the tour of KSC doesn't allow you into the Vehicle Assembly Building.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WED Fan ( 911325 )

      When would you have time? My Gods, I went there, expecting it to be like the Johnson Space Center, a half day diversion. WRONG. We spent the entire day, I was thoroughly geeked out, spent more at their gift shop than I did in 3 subsequent days at Disney World, and almost as much as we spent in Nassau on the cruise the previous week.

      KSC has got to be one of the best National tours around. The only thing better is the Smithsonian Air and Space, and a close third to the KSC is the museum at Wright-Patterson A

  • "It's much like a 3D video game--people can explore, walk around or fly around the shuttle," said Adam Sheppard
    Well, why did'nt the make this as a game. Would be much cooler fly with the shuttle.
    Or blow it up by flipping some wrong switch...
    • Actually, I seem to remember playing some space shuttle sim in the 90's. Can't remember the name for the life of me, though.

      IIRC you had to flip buttons until you got RSI just to lift-off, and landing was a bit like trying to fly a brick. I mean, in most flight sims you come almost horizontal at the runway, while this thing... well, let's just say that it seemed like the difference between landing it and free fall seemed mostly semantics.

      The experience was almost invariably along the lines of "damn, this is
      • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )

        Actually, I seem to remember playing some space shuttle sim in the 90's. Can't remember the name for the life of me, though.

        Well, Rendezvous: A Space Shuttle Flight Simulation [] (yeah, the Internet Movie Database lists games too) by Moby Games [] came out in 1982 for the Apple II and the Atari. It's possible you could have played it in the 1990s, but there may have been a better shuttle simulator than that one available by then.

        Written in AppleSoft BASIC and Atari BASIC, I wonder if its code could be adjusted to give faster framerates in a cranked-up Apple II or Atari emulator.

  • Well, as it requires Windows to run (at this time, I'm sure they'll extend it to other platforms real soon) then I'll just have to wait...
    • I'm pretty sure that Microsoft is going to try to hold onto this one for a while. Its not really 3D either. Photosynth takes a large number of photos from a common location and attempts to assemble them in the correct 'position' it then interpolates what it thinks is 3D. That is, if you have enough photos of one area and from enough angles for it to properly do so. Otherwise, you're just looking at a bunch of pictures that are shown in a way that gives you the illusion of being there.
    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      I think all their 3D stuff done with the Mars rovers were Java based and some Java3D. So, in comes Microsoft to purchase the hearts and minds of the management to push out that which the engineers developed originally.

      yup, there's a good chunk of Java and 3D at NASA so it's time for Microsoft to push those silly ideas out: []

      We've all seen this play out over and over again and after all, isn't it why we just love Microsoft? ;-/

  • Another proprietary soft from M$, if I recall, NASA is a gov. agency, then why chose a proprietary software when there is universal alternative? I guess MS Loby is quite strong in Washington!
    • Microsoft used their technology for NASA, no taxpayer money was used. There was no government "choice" to use a proprietary software. That and oh wait, Microsoft created this, it's not like a jpeg viewer that every company produces. It might shock some people but companies sometimes come up with innovative software before its competitors are able to copy it.
    • by lgarner ( 694957 )
      Please provide a link to the equivalent software.

      I imagine NASA wanted an app for this, and Microsoft was able to provide it.
    • What universal alternative? It doesn't exist. This is a case where Microsoft has created something new and unique. Please... keep breathing I know it's hard to understand. Your whole world is spinning really fast but just keeping breathing.

      Read through the siggraph white papers for the year. 20% of the papers by my count have a Microsoft R&D writing credit. They are investing a lot of money into bleeding edge image analysis and this is one of the few which has been brought to 'market' at the low c
  • Microsoft Labs Site []

    Go forth and multiply (Microsoft's bandwidth bill).

  • So, putting obsolete vague drawings of Saturn V on the wall will get you into trouble ( 30/0215204 []) but having a detailed view of the current launch vehicle of NASA will not?

    I say again: Americans are just plain stupid.
  • Unexpected error occured while executing "deploy landing-gear".

    (here goes blue screen)

    Press space to close application. Warning: All data may be lost. Try to land and launch again, err, restart the application.
    If you are still experiencing problems, contact your administrator.

    Have a nice day!
  • Great (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Mad Quacker ( 3327 )
    Another PR stunt coming out of an engineering boondoggle that has tied up US (and human) spaceflight for 30 years. Might as well have made it look like a giant cricket. Let's make a space truck that looks like a plane and can only possibly go a few miles above the planet, like driving from here to Jersey but with a serious hazard of blowing up. Yes I want the 3D model of this on my desktop to remind me that people take pride in failure.

    Real science is done on rockets. Politicians and bureaucrats should be k
  • Is this going to be like a MS Flight Simulator NASA Edition? That would be pretty cool. It would be really neat to have the ability to perform modern and historical space missions. Docking with ISS, repairing Hubble, landing on the Moon. "I could drive on the Moon in my Lunar Rover." - obligatory Brian Regan reference
    • That's not what they're doing, but for what you want you can try orbiter []. It's free, and it's supposed to be extremely realistic, although I have no experience with the real thing for comparison purposes. You don't get to drive Lunar Rovers, but you get to dock with Hubble and Mir (which is still there thanks to the magic of software). You can also travel and orbit the moon, as well as other planets if you spend enough time to figure out how to plan trajectories and whatnot.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday August 06, 2007 @12:50PM (#20131445)
    In recent years MicroSoft labs (inluding UK and Beijing) have been co-authors on 20% of the papers. Thats pretty spectacular considering the conference has 90% paper rejection rate. Theyve talked about their photo-reconstruction R&D a couple times there. To me the main disappointment has been the lack of technology to mainstream MicroSoft computer products. Occasionally they've spunoff some of these results to startups.

    MicroSoft has had one of the ten largest industrial research labs in the world. Some people have accused it being a tax writeoff. They are sort of like Bell Labs and Xerox PARC in not commercializing alot of results and less like IBM and GE who are more successful. Many of MSFT's publiched results are linked on their website.
  • Automated 3D scene reconstruction software has been an active topic at the SIGGRAPH meeting (occuring in San Diego this week) for a decade. The object is to be able to move a camera(s) through a space such as a city block or building hallway, snap hundreds of pictures, then reconstruct the 3D shape and surface textures in real time. Google's "Street View" is an early application of this technology. I've seen one group promote this for insurance companies and superintendents to walk thorugh a building and
    • by snooo53 ( 663796 ) *
      Do you have any good links to either software or basic descriptions of algorithms for doing 3d scene reconstruction by any chance? Feeling lazy on the google search front. I did found a few abstracts... but not sure if they are any good. Ideally I'd like to find either demo software or a video, or even a good discussion group would be nice.
  • this is really great. I am no big fan of microsoft, but credit where credit is due. A game that lets me explore a world which otherwise only very few people can experience in real life, that's awsome.


    PS: on an afterthought this might suck as much as Flight Simulator X ... oh never mind.
  • NASA, you're a government agency. Why are you leaving millions of citizens out in the cold?

    And by the way, it's "Endeavour". The orbiter is named for Capt. Cook's ship. Cook was British.
  • The Photosynth viewer will allow fans of the space program an unprecedented level of detail in examining the shuttle and its surrounds at the Kennedy Space Center.

    Until some low level political appointee flunky finds about it and kills the project because the nasty people might use it to plan something bad...thus reinforcing the belief among our young people that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and that a career in business is both higher paying and politically more reliable than having some for
  • There is a lot of whining on this site about this not being multi-platform. NASA wasting tons of money. Blah blah blah blah. All NASA had to do was provide Microsoft with several thousand photos from their archive.

    That was it. Nothing more. It's not like NASA invested years of research and personal developing some project which only runs on windows... that was the Microsoft Half of the equation and shock and amaze it only runs on windows for now.

    Since a vast majority of the US population is on Windows t

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra