*posting this second time... got a board message declaring repeat post... ran search on Celestia, with no response. Oh well*
As reported by Steven Johnson, in the November 2004 issue of Discover
, Celestia is a free software program which places you in a virtual space
tour, complete with updated and accurate visuals from the likes of NASA and ESA.
YOU control where you go in this free and open ended simulator... you aren't restricted to the inner... or outer... solar system, either. The whole
galaxy, nay, the whole multiverse is yours, thanks to free updates and user plug-ins. Not restricted to the real, you can also visit Tatooine, the
space station from 2001: Space Odyssey, and much more.
Travel back in time, watch the solar system run backwards... or jump to the future and see Venus as it is being terra-formed. Follow along comets,
or fix a stationary point in the cosmos and watch everything circle around you. Move faster then light... everything is possible here, including
different spacecraft for your use.
The initial program was designed by Chris Laurel of Microsoft, and can be found here
, with plug-ins and add-ons
on a different, yet easily navigatable site
I'll be downloading this tonight, after kids are in bed and wife gets home so I don't tie up my phone line... on a 56K, I'm looking at 35 minutes
plus to download a 12 MB file; this is the smallest file you can get, with the largest at 17MB... but I figure, with the add-ons, I can explore now
and choose what I want.