Solar System Browser


Solar System Browser
Solar System Browser

The Solar System Browser was designed to display the satellite data and imagery collected by NASA space missions in the context of an actual 3D mockup of the solar system. The browser has the ability to display planetary bodies as 3D geometry, as well as multiple levels of surface imagery mapped correctly onto those surfaces.

The browsers uses an external database to determine what data to display. All content is either procedurally generated or loaded on the fly. There are a number of search and bookmark tools available within the app to allow users to quickly move through the available data.

The datasets available here are for demonstration purposes only, they are neither complete nor are they accurate.

How to use:

Cick on the link below, keep in mind the presentation may take a moment to load.

Once the presentation has started click on the ‘?’ icon for help.

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Click here to start:

Browser - Full Solar System

Browser - Saturn’s moon Titan


This project was an extension on the work I had already done for NASA’s JPL Navigator program on the Planetfinder (‘3D New Worlds Atlas’) project.

After seeing what we had accomplished using only procedural content, we had hoped to leverage this technology to create a streamlined browser that could display actual satellite imagery of our solar system’s planets ‘in-situ’ correctly overlayed onto the 3D surfaces. The idea was to allow users to feel they were exploring space themselves.

As a result, everything had to be open ended. When possible procedurals were used to speed up the display of model elements, and a backend download manager was implemented to streamline the delivery of actual photographic data.

I have included above two examples of different datasets viewed within the browser.

Unfortunately the project is not currently being pursued by the JPL. Hopefully we will return to it someday.