Sumary of Big picture, big data: Swiss unveil VR software of universe:
- LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The final frontier has rarely seemed closer than this — at least virtually.
- Researchers at one of Switzerland’s top universities are releasing open-source beta software on Tuesday that allows for virtual visits through the cosmos including up to the International Space Station, past the Moon, Saturn or exoplanets, over galaxies and well beyond.
- The program — called Virtual Reality Universe Project, or VIRUP — pulls together what the researchers call the largest data set of the universe to create three-dimensional, panoramic visualizations of space.
- Computer algorithms churn up terabytes of data and produce images that can appear as close as one meter (about three feet), or almost infinitely far away — as if you sit back and look at the entire observable universe.
- It aims to draw in a broad array of visitors, both scientists looking to visualize the data they continue to collect and a broad public seeking to explore the heavens virtually.
- Downloading the software and content might seem onerous for the least-skilled computer users, and space — on a computer — will count.