NASA teams with Google to create huge, stunning visual universe

The "Once Upon A Try" project celebrates the inventions of humankind and explores NASA's extensive image archives.

Jackson Ryan Former Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Jackson Ryan
2 min read
Google Arts/NASA

NASA has teamed with internet search behemoth Google to produce a stunning visual history of America's space story, stretching back over a century.

The NASA visual universe was created via machine learning, which analysed the space agency's extensive archives to present its images in an awe-inspiring constellation. Drilling down into the extensive archives allows you to see over 150,000 images all clustered into individual categories from "astronauts" to "hubble" to "Discovery" and "Independence Day". 


An easy to search, scroll in/scroll out gallery of NASA's extensive catalogue

Google Arts/NASA

It's like an interactive, always-open museum for the stargazer.

You can immerse yourself in the future of deep space exploration systems in a marvelous visual gallery documenting NASA's new systems, explore the Martian surface and wash your weary internet eyeballs with wondrous high-resolution images of the International Space Station

If you recall the selfie-matching app from January 2018, where you could find out which famous piece of art you most resemble, you'll be familiar with Google Arts & Culture. This collaboration is part of a larger Google Arts & Culture initiative known as "Once Upon A Try" which sees Google team with a number of science organizations such as the Smithsonian, CERN and more than 100 other museums around the world.

The aim of the new tool is to provide exhibits that showcase humanity's great achievements, highlight scientific milestones and underline some of the world's most important inventions. Google calls it a celebration of "the objects dreamt up and created by inventors, scientists and dreamers".

And there are plenty of exhibits beyond NASA's collection! Jump on your phone and you can hear the incomparable Tilda Swinton walk you through the Big Bang in augmented reality by downloading the compatible app or take a walk alongside the Large Hardon Collider with Google's Street View.

It's an interactive museum that has, seemingly, no end. You can start your wandering here.

A 23rd-century tourist guide to the galaxy

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