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Look at the Space Shuttle
August 6, 2007 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Space World is a joint project between NASA, Microsoft Live Labs and MSNBC.com. It uses Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth to create 3D tours of the space shuttle Endeavour and NASA's Kennedy Space Center facilities.

(Tech preview, Windows XP SP2 and Vista RC 1, IE 6&7, Firefox 1.5 and 2 only, gotta install Photosynth plugin). Others can see a movie demo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (41 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm suprised that NASA would be party to a website that shuts out Macs.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:06 AM on August 6, 2007


Plugin?? Pfff.

Google, could you get this working via Ajax? Before I go home today? Thanks, I thought so.
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Microsoft owns both Live Labs and MSNBC. This is like saying that my couch and my chair are teaming up for a joint project to furnish my room.

Regardless, I'm getting excited about Microsoft's R&D. All great companies at their prime seem to have incredibly innovative R&D departments (IBM in the 60s, Xerox, Bell Labs). If the past is any indication of the present, the technology coming out of Live Labs should be useful in say, 30-40 years..
posted by geoff. at 10:12 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm suprised that NASA would be party to a website that shuts out Macs.

Yeah, that 3% market share is a doozy.

I'm surprised they'd be party to a website that shuts out OS/2 Warp! What were they thinking?
posted by SweetJesus at 10:34 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, Microsoft only owns 18% of MSNBC. The rest is owned by NBC Universal.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2007


SweetJesus -- Nasa tends to run a lot of scentific apps on Macs, form what I understand, so some of their own personell won't be able to use that site. Also, as a governemtal agency, shouldn't they be supporting open standards? It's the only NASA -oriented site I've seen yet that just plain wouldn't let me in, anyway. I'm not trying to play the victim -- it just seems un-NASA-like.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:38 AM on August 6, 2007


I installed the Add On, and it was totally worth it. Wheee!
posted by steef at 10:38 AM on August 6, 2007


Wait a second--even the movie demo requires a plugin.

Flagged as MicrosoftBlue.
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2007


The plugin is totally worth it. Photosynth is one of the very few apps I've seen in the past couple years that have made my jaw drop. It does what it does *computationally*! Unbelievable.
posted by Mach5 at 10:41 AM on August 6, 2007


Devils Rancher - You'll have to find a link for that. That makes no sense to me. Why the hell would you pay for Mac hardware and software when you can get the same thing without the bells and whistles by using Linux. I know the government has a massive contract with Dell, but no such one for Apple that I know of.

Also, Apple is about the least open, least transparent company in the computing industry, so why would you think NASA would be supporting "open standards" by using Apple? (Not that this has anything to do with open standards in the first place)
posted by SweetJesus at 10:46 AM on August 6, 2007


shouldn't they be supporting open standards?

Can we keep this about the actual content of the post as opposed to a standards war, Microsoft pile on etc, please? Thank you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on August 6, 2007


Regardless, SJ, NASA is chock-full of Macs. Always has been.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2007


Heh, so Microsoft and NASA are teaming up to bring software that's guaranteed to crash.
posted by jefbla at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2007


I'm stuck on a mac at work and couldn't get photosynth to install in a virtualized (parallels, will probably switch to Fusion soon) environment. I'll try it when I get home. I've tried the photosynth tech preview before, it really is very impressive.
posted by Grod at 11:15 AM on August 6, 2007


Regardless, SJ, NASA is chock-full of Macs. Always has been.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:06 PM on August 6 [+] [!]


It's full of people too. Always has been.
posted by juiceCake at 11:23 AM on August 6, 2007


Can we keep this about the actual content of the post as opposed to a standards war, Microsoft pile on etc, please? Thank you.

Sorry 'rout that, but seeing as how I cant see the site, it's kinda hard to comment...
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:38 AM on August 6, 2007


*'bout*
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:42 AM on August 6, 2007


The application itself is in beta, or pre-beta so it's no surprise whatsoever that it doesn't run on everything under the sun as yet.
posted by juiceCake at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2007


You mean Quicktime VR? Right? Right?
posted by tkchrist at 11:49 AM on August 6, 2007


Sorry 'rout that, but seeing as how I cant see the site, it's kinda hard to comment...

You should just use the "Don't Post Comment" button then.

I can't wait for this Photosynth to be downloadable so I can do this with my own pictures.
posted by Bort at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2007


Regardless, SJ, NASA is chock-full of Macs. Always has been.

Well, that settles it. You certainly proved me wrong. Must be that authoratiative voice you've got going on...
posted by SweetJesus at 2:58 PM on August 6, 2007


Here's three links, SweetJesus.
http://developer.apple.com/business/macmarket/riacsnasa.html
http://aaac.larc.nasa.gov/tsab/tetruss/mac/
http://justinplue.com/
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:07 PM on August 6, 2007


Alrighty, the usual MetaFilter clarification round:

+ MSNBC.com (the web site) is half-owned by Microsoft and half-owned by NBC Universal. MSNBC (the cable network) is majority owned by NBC.

+ The plugin works on Firefox and IE, but not on Macs. Although I can't say for sure, I'd guess it will eventually have Mac support.

+ It's still in Beta. Give it some time, folks.

+ I'm the exec producer of MNSBC.com and set up the relationships on the project. We run pretty independent of our parents, but I wanted to do use this technology because I think it's pretty cool.

So now take your shots.
posted by rex at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2007


I stand corrected.

No wonder NASA's fucked up...
posted by SweetJesus at 6:29 PM on August 6, 2007


"So now take your shots."

Give me a job.
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 PM on August 6, 2007


(I'll save my real questions for when I'm not three gin and tonics in).
posted by klangklangston at 7:53 PM on August 6, 2007


Hiya, rex!
posted by cortex at 7:54 PM on August 6, 2007


Also, I have a Mac. (I am undermining our reputation for erudition, I fear).
posted by klangklangston at 7:55 PM on August 6, 2007


Rex, I don't know what capacity you have to call the shots on what is shown, but it would be very cool to see this for things like the Beijing Olympic sites, Dubai or other cool, new architectural things. Things like the new Steve Holl apartment complex in Beijing which are really cool but I've only seen small postage size photos of.

The technology is really cool, I've been following it closely, but it looks like they've always stuck with "safe" sites (Notre Dame, etc.) ... which may very well be because of the proof of concept nature of the technology, but it'd be amazing to see it move from proof of concept to reimagining the concept of photography on web sites.
posted by geoff. at 8:35 PM on August 6, 2007


Please excuse the use of the word cool, which isn't cool to use so many times.
posted by geoff. at 8:35 PM on August 6, 2007


I stand corrected.

No wonder NASA's fucked up...


Look, I'm sorry Steve Jobs touched you as a child or whatever, but sheesh, tone it down with the derails, okay?

Anyway, this IS pretty cool, and I look forward to it coming out of beta.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:39 PM on August 6, 2007


That demo by Blaise Aguera y Arcas is very impressive.

Felt a bit weird to install a Firefox plugin by Microsoft. Something I probably wouldn't have done if it weren't for rex' comment here.
posted by jouke at 8:47 PM on August 6, 2007


More facts about Rex:

He escaped from a fire that followed a flood in Grand Forks in 1998. The story about it, in which he is extensively quoted, won a Pulitzer.

He is the guy behind Fimoculus.

Garrison Keillor once threatened to sue him.

I am the current editor of a Web page he created. He's the "Rex" behind the frequent refrain of "Things were better when Rex was here." Although he has some nice things to say about me, so he's okay in my book.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:48 PM on August 6, 2007


Also, he's been on MetaFilter for quite a while.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:49 PM on August 6, 2007


He is the guy behind Fimoculus.

Then I forgive him for the Mac thing. I loves me some fimoculous.
posted by homunculus at 9:00 PM on August 6, 2007


geoff.: Those are some pretty sharp and prescient project ideas you have there. Be sure to reference this thread in the future with an "I told you so!" (Our list is pretty long, but some of your ideas are on it. This is early technology, but you're right on the mark for potential.)

Astro Zombie: Actually, I ran the website that won that Pulitzer. In an odd twist of fate, I was quoted in a story from my own publication. (This is what happens when news people become part of the news. It should never happen, but occasionally it does. Um, like now.)

jouke: Microsoft plugin on Firefox? You and me both, bro.

homunculous: I also do the annual "Blogs You Maybe Aren't Reading" post, which gets roundly ridiculed on this very site every year.... which I love.... every... single... time!

And the rest: You want cred? A) I went to the eight-year MeFi anniversary party -- proof! And B) I'm bringing in Haughey to speak about community to our staff in a couple weeks.
posted by rex at 10:19 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, Rex. This is off-topic, but....

- Any chance you guys will ever support web standards? I always feel sad when I view source on your pages.
- How about better Safari support too? The constant beachballs are painful.
- Full-length Hardball podcasts? (Hint: I'd pay MONEY for these!)
posted by mokolabs at 11:42 PM on August 6, 2007


One more thing, Rex... I'm not a huge Microsoft fan, but the PhotoSynth stuff is pretty sweet.

Thanks for putting this together.
posted by mokolabs at 11:47 PM on August 6, 2007


mokolabs: Check back in a couple months when we relaunch -- I think you'll be impressed. I can safely say that every one of my colleagues is embarrassed when we look at our own source code too. You know how it is to inherit legacy stuff, right? And yes, absolutely, Safari support.... for video too.
posted by rex at 12:07 AM on August 7, 2007


Cool. Good luck!
posted by mokolabs at 1:50 AM on August 7, 2007


I'm one of those on the mac so I had to watch the movie.

It looks pretty cool, but I am assuming the results are heavily dependent on the quality of the photos. Am I right? That would seem to limit it, at least for non-pros like myself. I seem to remember rudimentary software that claimed to make 3-D models from normal photos a few years back. I don't recall seeing much in that realm lately.

Seems a great fit for their surface technology.
posted by infowar at 5:10 PM on August 7, 2007


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