Google to help build telescope from the Associated Press covers Google
looking again to space as a new frontier. This time, the company is getting
involved with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.
To be built in Chile, the LSST is planned to scan the sky on a continuous
basis, which should allow "movie-like" looks at the universe. It’s expected to
open in 2013, with a price tag of $350 million from public and private funds.
And Google’s putting up how much? That’s not said. Apparently exactly what
Google is to do remains undefined. From the press
release, we only get:
"The LSST will be the world’s most powerful survey telescope, with vast
data management challenges. LSST engineers and scientists have been
collaborating with Google on a number of these exciting opportunities. Even
though the Universe is very old, exciting things happen every second. The LSST
will be able to find these events hundreds of times better than today’s other
big telescopes. Google will help us organize and present the seemingly
overwhelming volumes of data collected by the LSST," said Donald Sweeney, LSST
"Partnering with Google will significantly enhance our ability to convert
LSST data to knowledge," said University of California, Davis, Professor and
LSST Director J. Anthony Tyson. "LSST will change the way we observe the
universe by mapping the visible sky deeply, rapidly, and continuously. It will
open entirely new windows on our universe, yielding discoveries in a variety
of areas of astronomy and fundamental physics. Innovations in data management
will play a central role."
Naturally, there’s already worries about how Google will potentially ruin
But Google’s involvement raises questions about whether it sees the resulting
space images as a cash cow, said Stephen Maran, spokesman for the American
Astronomical Society. He said, "Maybe they’ll be selling ads next to the Orion
Nebula or something."
For its part, Google says:
Google spokesman Jon Murchinson said, "I don’t think we entered into this
partnership … with an eye on how do we monetize our participation."
Former Google vice president of engineering Wayne Rosing has been
part of the
project since 2005. Space.com has an interview from then on his participation
Last month, Google and NASA announced new details of how Google will make use
of space data through a partnership they established in in early 2006, including
feeding data into Google Moon and