Google Moon, Google Mars, Now Google Universe? Google Partnership With Space Telescope Project May Make UniTube Possible

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 Project Manager.

"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 space:

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. has an interview from then on his participation here.

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 Google Mars.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Earth | Google: Partnerships


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Richard Brandt

    It’s funny that every time Google announces something that’s done largely for the public good, someone comes out and frets over turning the venture into a “commercial” enterprise.

    Seems to me Sergey and Larry just like doing stuff like this. And if they sell ads for astronomy mags and telescopes and such along with it, what’s wrong with that?

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