WorldWide Telescope: Nearly 2 Million Regular Users And Two Award Nominations!

WWTlogo Since its public release in May 2008, nearly 2 million people around the world downloaded the free desktop observatory. PC World called World Wide Telescope a “phenomenal resource for enthusiasts, students, and teachers,” and tech blogger Robert Scoble called it “the most fabulous thing I’ve seen Microsoft do in years.” Here at LiveSide we reported on WWT frequently. We told you what WorldWide Telescope has to do with Microsoft Virtual Earth, about the new releases (new release about once every 3 months), the release of the web version of WWT and the partnership with Disney-Pixar.

On March 24, NASA and Microsoft Corp. announced plans to make planetary images and data available via the Internet under a Space Act Agreement. This will result in even more interesting data and images, including high-resolution scientific images and data from Mars and the moon, on top of the 25 terabytes of data and imagery already stored in the “cloud.”

The team will continue to “push the limits of technology to help professional astronomer, teachers and students of all ages explore the sky,” said Jonathan Fay, a principal research software design engineer at Microsoft Research. Together with Curtis Wong, a principal researcher with Microsoft Research, Jonathan Fay drove the creation of Worldwide Telescope. The WorldWide Telescope team also continues to establish relationships with educators and scientists all over the world, and to localize telescope data. The small team has built an application that allows local universities to translate WorldWide Telescope’s interface into different languages, starting with Chinese.

WorldWide Telescope has been nominated for two awards, the Edison Award and an American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) award. The Edison Awards “symbolize the persistence and excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison,” recognizing ingenuity, innovation, and creativity in the global economy. The award is presented on April 1. The AIGA’s annual awards recognize the year’s best work “across all disciplines of communication design and strategy.” The AIGA award will be given out later this spring.

Congrats from us here at LiveSide, well done!

Update: Edison Awards – WWT won Silver – Curtis Wong of Microsoft wins a Silver Edison for his development of the WorldWide Telescope, in this year’s the "Transportation" category (photo).

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