As part of Google's just-announced plan to build up 1 million square feet of offices at NASA Ames Research Center near Mountain View, Calif., the two entities will cooperate on research projects such as large-scale data management, nanotechnology, massively distributed computing and the entrepreneurial space industry.
While Ames Center Director G. Scott Hubbard and Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt have both touted the mutual benefits of the partnership, others are still struggling to make sense of it and are questioning what it means for investors, taxpayers and the space program. The news comes on the heels of NASA chief Michael Griffin's startling admission that the manned space shuttle and International Space Station projects have been misguided for decades.
Bloggers are on different planets, so to speak, in weighing the Google-NASA deal. But when it comes to humor, Slashdot's "Linker3000" is one of the shining stars: "I can see it all now... 'Mission Control, this is Mars Pathfinder 1, we are experiencing minor power fluctuations on bus C and require some diagnostic advice, over'...'Pathfinder 1, roger that, wait one'...'Pathfinder, this is Mission Control, please surf to history.nasa.gov/ap13rb/ch4pt.2.pdf. If you need a copy of Acrobat Reader please advise and I will supply the URL, over.'"Blog community response:
"Perhaps one day we will all be able to IM someone who is walking on the moon. The possibilities are endless, especially considering the brainpower of the combined corporations. It does, however, bring up a question that probably looms in the back of most people??s minds. When is Google going to get too big and broad for its own good. NASA and Google don't seem like the perfect pair, but maybe something will come of the collaboration that will help the search engine industry?"
--Vision Blog Spot
"Though this may sound greedy of Google at first, there is not a big profit win from this, it just plain developing technology for our space program which in turn benefits the American public by increasing space exploration and experiments which can lead to advancement in medicine, transportation and more."
--Truth and Ignorance
"Just what NASA needed: a slow, glitchy entity to share dreams of the impossible with."
--Shooting the Messenger
"Wow, can't wait to see what these two come up with. NASA has so many images, I can't wait to be able to search through them Google-style, or to see how Google organizes all of that awesome data that NASA has. I couldn't have said it better, the real winner in this deal is us."
"I can see the t-shirt now: 'I Googled the Universe...' or 'Aliens Googled Me, And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.' How about bumper stickers for that matter? I imagine the next space shuttle having a huge bumper sticker on the back that reads 'Powered by Google.' All kidding aside, this agreement is at least a great PR opportunity for both NASA and Google and it is good to see both organizations shooting for the stars."
--Rich Tehrani's VoIP blog