Microsoft and NASA announced an alliance to focus the software giant's virtual WorldWide Telescope on space agency images of Mars and other celestial bodies.
NASA and Microsoft will jointly develop a system to make high-resolution images and scientific data from Mars, the moon and elsewhere in the cosmos available for people to "explore" online at worldwidetelescope.org.
"Making NASA's scientific and astronomical data more accessible to the public is a high priority for NASA," said the US space agency's science mission directorate associate administrator Ed Weiler on Tuesday.
"Especially given the new administration's recent emphasis on open government and transparency."
Google teamed up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration several years ago to enhance Google Earth with space agency images.
Google Earth features 3D images of Mars, real-time spacecraft tracking, and virtual tours of the red planet at the free online service.
More than 100 terabytes of NASA data, including images from a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that has been studying the planet since 2006, will be incorporated into WorldWide Telescope later this year, according to Microsoft.