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Project ASTEROIDS NEAR EARTH was built in steps of:

  1. Research on the data material

  2. Iterations on visualizations and interactivity

  3. Final Iteration.

Research point 1: raw materials

Space is inspiring. An unpioneered territory that gives so much dreams and ideas to not only designers and developers but also many students including those who aspires to be astronologist and astronauts.

NASA’s open API provides data on various data, including imagery and specific information on space objects, eminently accessible to application developers. However, despite the vast scale of data and easily usable API, it is still not accessible to those who are unfamiliar with coding. 

There, I decided to make a visualization that can be easily understood and interacted by the users.

Research point 2: data to use

As this project is targeted for beginners and younger students who are interested in space but are lacking in specific professional knowledge, “how related can they feel towards the visualized data” was the main standard of choosing the dataset to visualize and distribute. Among various data provided by NASA, informations on space objects near us was the most suitable model.
(Below is the small summarized version of the sample data of an object that was near the Earth on May 5th, 2020.)

"id": "54016770",
    "neo_reference_id": "54016770",
    "name": "(2020 HZ6)",
    "nasa_jpl_url": "http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=54016770",
                            "estimated_diameter_min": 0.0251046966,
                            "estimated_diameter_max": 0.0561358081
            "is_potentially_hazardous_asteroid": false,
            "close_approach_data": [
                    "close_approach_date": "2020-05-05",
                    "close_approach_date_full": "2020-May-05
                    "relative_velocity": "kilometers_per_second": "21.7493107362"

Parsing data and visualizations 

Data is a mere Data becomes information when it is parsed and polished with human intention.
Data is raw, unorganized facts that need to be processed. it is a mere documented list of phenomena. When data is processed, organized, presented with a human intention or any given context to make it useful, it becomes information.

The visualization foucses on showing various near-earth-objects in terms of their sizes and speeds. Each objects are visualized as an abstract 3D object according to its magnitude and its speed with randomized color.

Interactivity: date

In project ASTEROIDS NEAR EARTH, Users can input specific dates to simulate a space scene that shows the movement of the earth and the asteroids near by. Once users input a date, names of every objects that were near the earth appears on the screen and the simulation starts.

Final iteration

Next steps

  • Other various space data into information

    NASA provides vast amount of space data of various topics. While these data can be tremendously inspiring for those who are interested in space above our sky, astronomy is hard to experience without expensive gears and classes. I would like to create similar interactive datavisualization that can help beginners and students to be able to simulate the universe with a little help of design, datavisualization, and technology.

  • Incorporation of Immersive technology

    I will put this information in a more immersive experience that incorporates Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed reality. This will enhance the educational aspect of project: ASTEROIDS NEAR EARTH by creating a more interesting platform for younger users, and enabling spatial storytelling.
Link to the project: https://ira77kim.github.io/asteroids-near-earth
Codes are open for any educational purposes and are available in https://github.com/ira77kim/asteroids-near-earth

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© 2020 copyright by Dae Young Kim