I managed to get in on the last 15 minutes of the NASA/Google Press Briefing. See my notes based on just the press release here. Here are some interesting details I gleaned from the briefing:
- This agreement is based on similar partnerships NASA has with many private companies based on provisions called the “Space Act”. The act specifically allows NASA to work with private entities to expand on projects or data analysis where the projects are in line with NASA’s mission to share the data with the public.
- NASA and Google pointed to the Global Connection Project as a model for the type of relationship they envision. The Global Connection project has resulted in many technologies and shared data (like the Hurricane Katrina imagery, and the National Geographic layers in Google Earth). Google helped fund the project which included people from NASA, Google, National Geographic, and Carnegie Mellon University. I guess its possible NASA would also put money in on some projects which were in line with their funded projects. Google emphasized their objective would be to make the results freely and universally accessible.
- Google still plans to lease a large amount of real estate at the NASA Ames Research Center (a million square feet of office space). But, specific numbers of people involved with NASA projects has not been determined. It was mentioned between a dozen and two dozen Googlers have been involved with projects at NASA so far. Several projects are already in progress.
- The intent here, according to Chris Kemp of NASA Ames, is to align NASA’s mission of conducting space exploration and sharing the data with the public with Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. A big objective here is to allow Google to use its best skills on NASA’s data.