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Students and Astronauts Use Powerful New Tool to Explore Earth From Space


CAMBRIDGE, MA – Imagine being able, with a click of a mouse, to see the world, in all its beauty, just like astronauts do on the International Space Station.

That’s exactly what will happen when Richard Garriott – a citizen astronaut and son of former astronaut Owen Garriott -- takes his trip to the International Space Station on October 12 aboard the Soyuz. He will be carrying with him special software – “Windows on Earth” -- developed by TERC (an educational non-profit) and the Association of Space Explorers to help him identify targets on the Earth to photograph for scientific research and educational exploration.

Anyone interested in seeing what Garriott will see can use the SAME software to simulate the views from the space station window by going to
This software, funded by the National Science Foundation, was originally developed for use in museums and the web. It is currently installed at Boston’s Museum of Science, the National Air and Space Museum, and St. Louis Science Center.

It has been adapted for use by astronauts because of its very realistic simulation of Earth as seen from space. (Usually the reverse is true – the technology is developed first for scientists and then adapted for public and educational use.)

Richard Garriott’s flight, and this software, offer an historic opportunity to see how Earth has changed over the 35 years since his father Owen, one of NASA’s first scientist astronauts, flew on Skylab II in 1973.

“I am very excited to be using the TERC Windows on Earth software to aid in my Earth observation experiments. I can say with confidence that the tool will prove to be essential in helping me get the most out of my time on orbit.” Garriott said

About TERC:

Founded in 1965, TERC’s mission is to improve math, science, and technology teaching and learning. Each year, TERC’s programs and products reached more than 3.5 million students in the United States and abroad.

About Association of Space Explorers:

The Association of Space Explorers is an international nonprofit professional and educational organization of over 320 individuals from 33 nations who have flown in space.


 Space Station
 Climate Change
 Earth from Space
 Windows on Earth

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