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NASA's ace 3D space exploration tool Eyes on the Solar system now works in browser

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It's a common dream among our terrestrial species to one day explore the stars. Some of us have grown up with boots on the moon long in our history and boots on Mars planned for 2040 (opens in new tab), causing us to look forward to a plausible future of space exploration. Sadly, it's coming along a bit slower than my dreams were hoping for, but NASA is still helping our stranded little species get a taste of space with things like these amazing photographs (opens in new tab) and 3D solar system renderings.

Back in 2010 NASA released a free software suite called NASA's Eyes Visualisation. It's an incredibly interesting tool that realistically simulates spacecraft, planets, and other items in our solar system based on real data. Just a few days ago the company released NASA's Eyes in browser format (spotted by HotHardware (opens in new tab)), so anyone with a computer can check out some of the happenings in our local system.

Jumping onto the new NASA's Eyes website (opens in new tab) will give you a 3D rendering of our system live, or you can play around with the controls to move time to your whim. Clicking on objects will give you more information about them, and you can move around them and zoom in and out fairly freely. Some objects' surfaces can even have high-res textures turned on to boot. It takes me back to mining resources in Mass Effect, but hopefully without the mining part.

There are still other seriously cool features in this web browsing look at the solar system, too. It has a telescope mode that allows you to land on a planet and see the night's sky from that perspective. It's the closest I've ever come to pulling a Dr Manhattan and just chilling out on Mars while the world spins on without me.

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For the NASA nerds among us, the Eye also shows off stories on the left hand side of the screen. These take you through various exploration missions in 3D, explaining what was found and how by the various instruments sent out into the void. 

You can get a look at what Voyager twins have been up to, watch the Perseverance Mars landing, and even see geysers get discovered on one of Saturn's moons.

Spoilers, it's probably not the one you think.

All of this gives space fans the world over a great 3D exploration app in any browser they can access. This is one great little tool that's great for learning tonnes of information about NASA missions, our solar system, the different planets and moons, or just mindlessly exploring space from the comfort of your PC.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.