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Google Partners With NASA

Goal is to make more of the space agency's exploration work accessible to everyone over the Internet.

Google and the NASA Ames Research Center have signed an agreement to work together on a variety of projects that include large-scale data management and distributed computing and human-to-computer interfaces.

The search engine and the space agency said Monday that the first in the series of joint collaborations covered under the Space Act Agreement would make more NASA information available on the Internet. Such projects would include real-time weather visualization and forecasting, 3-D maps of the moon and Mars, and tracking of the international space station and the space shuttle.

"This innovative combination of information technology and space science will make NASA's space exploration work accessible to everyone," NASA administrator Michael Griffin said in a joint statement.

For Google, the deal was expected to give it access to a "wealth of technical expertise and data that will be of great use to Google as we look to tackle many computing issues on behalf of our users," said CEO Eric Schmidt.

The two organizations said they intend to collaborate on incorporating agency data in Google's geographic mapping service called Google Earth. In addition, they plan to focus on user studies and cognitive modeling for human-computer interaction, and better search for scientific data.

NASA and Google are also working on agreements for additional collaboration on research, products, facilities, education, and space missions. Ames director S. Pete Worden said the Google deal reflected an agency push to work closer with private industry. "I want NASA Ames to establish partnerships with the private sector that will encourage innovation, while advancing the vision for space exploration and commercial interests."

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