The latest visualization tool (or toy?) from NASA is a work of art: Called Eyes on the Solar System, this 3D rendering of our cosmic neighborhood lets you explore planets, asteroids, and witness spacecraft encountering comets and moons. Powered by the Unity 3 gaming engine, Eyes provides a stunning view of your favorite celestial bodies from a satellite’s perspective.
Looking for inspiration of where to visit? Check out the Cassini flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, or any of EPOXI’s encounters with comets (click the “DESTINATION” panel in the lower left). Other panes let you control the date and time, the speed and rate of any encounter with a planet, multimedia (videos and spacecraft images), as well as what objects you’re looking at and how much they’re illuminated (“VISUAL CONTROLS”).
How does Eyes on the Solar System compare to Google Earth or Sky? First off, Eyes runs entirely in your browser (only requiring installation of the Unity plugin), and contains a ton of mission data and information that you won’t get from Google. Eyes incorporates spacecraft pointing and orientation information direct from NASA, so you can see exactly how Cassini flew past Saturn’s moon Encealdus during its 2008 flyby.