NASA reveals new library tool for all the space pics you need

29 Mar 2017

This vibrant image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is included in NASA’s new library. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI

NASA has a long history of releasing treasure troves of content from space missions, and its new library is the organisation’s latest move.

With tens of thousands of images, videos and audio files knocking about on NASA’s online service, one of the site’s few flaws was the difficulty in searching for the exact piece of content you wanted.

An image from Hubble? Sent to a microsite. Orion? Its own section. Jumping, hopping, chopping and changing.

Now, it’s all change.

One-stop shop

Content from across the agency’s many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight and more are now easy to find, download or embed to use elsewhere, all thanks to this library.

Although it isn’t quite comprehensive, the search tool does provide the single location from where users can access the best of what NASA makes publicly available.

Additionally, it is a living website, where new and archival files will continually be added.

NASA library

The search function allows users to search by year, mission, planet, star, galaxy etc.

The content automatically scales the interface for mobile phones and tablets, as well as displaying EXIF/camera data such as exposure, lens used and other information (where available) from the original image.

Good year

NASA has had a decent start to 2017, in comparison to other US research agencies. Despite massive public spending cuts for governmental organisations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, US president Donald Trump appears to be much more willing to fund humankind’s bid to land on another planet.

Last week, Trump signed a bill into law to give NASA $19.5bn in funding over the next seven years.

The funding will contribute towards the building of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, with the aim of sending astronauts to Mars in 2033.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic