...http://sos.noaa.gov/ ...Somebody really wanted to replicate what they saw in Star Wars and finally managed to convince management to pony up some bucks. Too bad it's not all that useful a visualization mechanism...
LOL. The imagery of science fiction, particularly when it comes to visualizing multiple, rich information sources, and intangible dimensions, etc. has been so ingrained in our psyche for decades now. So much so that that NASA one looks really, really lame. It's just a frickin' ball hung over carpet and probably uses chunky expensive projectors which require a lot of maintenance.
I support funding for Science 100%. But to capture the public's imagination, we need to see stuff like the iPhone and these:
(Sunshine - "Icarus")
(I was going to throw in Minority Report but I'm really avoiding anything Cruise nowadays)
I know the NASA one had specific surface-spherical visualization in mind, but really the Holy Grail is full 3D imagery of arbitrary shape, texture, etc. then full interaction with this. Cf. Iron Man movie.
"Star Trek" holodecks is a different level, because that involves arbitrary manipulation of matter itself, which is, shall I just say, I'll have my nice super touch thin MacBook Pro-esque 16" ... then I'll start to fantasise about manipulating matter at will at a subatomic level.
If you'll bear with loading the images, come to think of it, all science fiction references to any sort of "visualisation" has to be somebody looking at a big globe like thing:
(Sunshine - "Earth Room")
(Linkin Park's video - "Leave out all the rest")