Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at

September 1, 2006

NASA World Wind Moon

Filed under: GIS — admin @ 7:08 pm

Nature online has a special out tonight on the Moon.

The occasion:

“On 2 or 3 September 2006, Europe’s latest mission to the Moon, a robotic craft called SMART-1, is scheduled to perform a spectacular crash landing, visible to Earth-bound professionals and amateurs alike.
Here takes a close look at the Moon, from its geology to its effects on mankind, from its birth to the future missions planned to build a base on its surface.”

The reason, I mention it here is that alongside I’ve a lighthearted Q&A with Patrick Hogan, project manager of NASA World Wind, on World Wind Moon. It’s a fun general public piece, and not one of my ever-so-serious analytical Nature articles, so I let Patrick get away with a few superlatives as to what he claims is upcoming in the next release of World Wind (1.3.6), due out this month. Let’s see if it is as good as he says:

“The biggest changes coming up, this month, will be adding shading and lighting for the Earth version. The Sun will be in its correct position, and the shadows on Earth will be where they are supposed to be. If you go down into the atmosphere, you will be able to see sunrises and sunsets. We are adding three-dimensional volumetric clouds, and light and colour will be reflected upon the clouds, which will then also be reflected on the land, and on the correct side of the mountains. It’s absolutely gorgeous; we are getting towards reality.”

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