The second session of TED2008 asks "What is our place in the universe?" and it cogently opens with a sneak preview of an amazing piece of technology under development at Microsoft: the World Wide Telescope, a powerful new web-based tool for exploring the universe (for the geeks among you, this is the unnamed piece of new tech that made blogger Robert Scoble weep recently). It functions like a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from actual ground and space (Hubble) telescopes.
Roy Gould and Curtis Wong are up on stage demo-ing it. Gould, who's an astronomy educator, says that the WWT "produces a holistic view of the universe and it's going to change the way we do astronomy and teach it, and the way we see ourselves in the universe. Why do I believe that it is transformative? It enables you to experience the universe; you can tour it, with astronomers as your guides; and you can create your own tours and share them with friends. It will enable a new generation of stories and storytellers". The WWT is indeed impressive, providing an amazing, seamless, very detailed navigational experience in the depths of the universe. Since this has not been seen in public so far, here three screenshots:
TED2008, WWT, World Wide Telescope, Microsoft, Technology, Tech News