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NASA releases 3D photo collections of space station, Mars rover

Using Microsoft's Photosynth technology, the space agency has issued collections that show internal, as well as external images of the space station, and the latest rover model.

On Thursday, NASA announced it has released a set of 3D photo collections of the International Space Station and its Mars rover. The photos were created using Microsoft's Photosynth technology, which automatically stitches together hundreds of images from standard digital cameras.

NASA said on Thursday that it has released a collection of 3D photographs of the International Space Station and its Mars rover.

The photos, which were created using Microsoft's Photosynth tool, show both internal and external views of the space station, as well as a model of the rover.

Because the images were prepared using Photosynth, users can zoom in or out of any of the images, allowing them to see "details of the space station's modules and solar arrays or...a more global view of the complex."

At the same time, the Mars rover images depict the latest iteration of the hardware being crafted at NASA's Mars Science Laboratory. The rover, NASA said, is expected to be launched to Mars in 2011.

Both collections are made up of hundreds of photos taken with standard digital cameras that have been stitched together automatically using Photosynth.

And this isn't the first time NASA has used Photosynth to present images of its various projects. In 2007, it employed the Microsoft Live Labs technology to showcase a 3D view of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

On June 22, Geek Gestalt will kick off Road Trip 2009. After driving more than 12,000 miles in the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and the Southeast over the last three years, I'll be looking for the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and South and North Dakota. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. And in the meantime, join the Road Trip 2009 Facebook page and follow my Twitter feed.