Proof of Life? Azure does Mars

This article was originally published in VSJ, which is now part of Developer Fusion.
A good application is worth a thousand press releases in terms of convincing programmers that a technology is viable. Now anyone with a Web browser can become a Martian explorer courtesy of Azure and NASA. The new “citizen-science” website, called Be a Martian, gives users a chance to view hundreds of thousands of images gathered over decades of exploration on the Red Planet, and it’s all Azure.

The idea is that while playing an “educational” game, visitors will review the images for interesting features. The system allows visitors to pan, zoom and explore the planet through images from Mars landers, roving explorers and orbiting satellites dating from the 1960s to the present. Many of the images have never been seen before.

As well as providing some free data mining for NASA, it is hoped that it will spur interest in science and technology among students. Of course the spin-off effect of proving that Azure works to thousands of Mars-struck developers is probably worthwhile as well!

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