Did you know that NASA houses the largest collection of scientific storytellers in the country?
This week, the Environmental Film Festival visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Festival founder Flo Stone, along with Festival staff took a tour of the Washington-area campus to learn more about the process of scientific visualization.
The DCEFF team met with a few of the talented scientists, producers, visualizers and animators at the Scientific Visualization Studio and Conceptual Image Lab, who are responsible for representing all of the overwhelming data collected from NASA satellites in ways that help broaden our understanding of the earth and beyond.
“Our expertise is understanding what the data is … so that the viewer has a visceral experience,” says Horace Mitchell, head of SVS. “It’s not the case of using computer simulation to understand what’s happening in 100 years, it’s about understanding what’s happening now or what happened a 100 years ago.”
In so doing, these skilled NASA employees are able to illustrate an abstract concept, like what the color of the ocean tells us about the amount of sea life or how the transport of Saharan dust by wind impacts the Amazon basin. With the launch of the premier James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for October 2018, no doubt an unprecedented amount of scientific discoveries and stories are still to come.
Take a look at more breath-taking photos from DCEFF’s tour below and be sure to explore the work of NASA’s SVS and CI Lab online. All of the animation and frames are available for public use.