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Google Inc. confirmed Wednesday that it will build up to 1 million square feet of offices at NASA Ames Research Center and collaborate with the space agency on research surrounding topics such as supercomputing that could benefit everything from moon launches to online searches.

The partnership is intended to blend the expertise and huge resources of one of the leading Internet companies with an army of scientists focused on the stratosphere and beyond.

"Google and NASA share a common desire to bring the universe of information to people around the world," said Eric Schmidt, the company's chief executive officer, in a statement. "Imagine having a wide selection of images from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it."

This could be a great way to get normal lay people more interested in space. I already think NASA has a pretty fine online incarnation, and they've definitely been doing their damnedest to get Soccer-Mom Judy to sit down with little Frankie and Jessica to 'steer' the Mars rovers over their cute interactive website, but just imagine how Google can improve this. Maybe one day public interest could actually rise above epsilon exactly at a time when a critical mass of millionaires stimulates the private sector. (Shit, with SpaceShipOne and the recent little Space Elevator success, I reckon we're already in the middle of this critical mass.)

Meanwhile, if nothing else, what better way to improve the dilapidated NASA culture than lessons from one of the most successful companies in the world right now?


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