The Final Frontiers Get a Little More Accessible

Jules Verne would have liked Robert Ballard.  Verne wrote about the mysteries of the seas while Ballard actually explored them.  Dr. Ballard is best described as an underwater archaeologist; the man who led explorations that uncovered sunken vessels including the Titanic, the Bismarck, and John F. Kennedy’s PT-109.  Robert Ballard has had a long and successful career fueled by curiosity and an interest in using technology to transform how we explore the world around us.  We need more of today’s students to become tomorrow’s  Robert Ballards.  Creating interest in science and technology careers is the purpose of STEM, the Obama administration’s “Educate to Innovate” initiative.  Two tools that bring the depths of the ocean and the expanse of the universe a little closer are Nautilus Live and Worldwide Telescope.

Thanks to the Internet, access to the real-time exploration efforts of scientists like Robert Ballard is now a possibility.  Ballard’s new website, Nautilus Live, provides 24 hour live video and audio streaming from twenty different cameras on board multiple ships and exploration craft.  Engineers will be exploring the Black and Aegean Seas as well as the Pacific in the pursuit of discovering ancient wrecks and learning more about aquatic life.

Microsoft has teamed with NASA to bring the cosmos to life with their Worldwide Telescope project.  The beauty of the Worldwide Telescope is that the vast amount of data and images has been blended together to create a rich visual experience for the user.  Information that has been traditionally limited to scientists working in observatories is now available for free.  The Worldwide Telescope can be download at and includes various tours and tools for engaging astronomers of all ages.

Do you find either of these useful and how has it made learning science, math or technology more relevant?