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NASA Ames Research Center and Google have signed a Space Act Agreement that formally establishes a relationship to work together on a variety of challenging technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and massively distributed computing, to human-computer interfaces.
As the first in a series of joint collaborations, Google and Ames will focus on making the most useful of NASA's information available on the Internet. Real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3- D maps of the moon and Mars, real-time tracking of the International Space Station and the space shuttle will be explored in the future.
Google, NASA Ames To Cooperate On Technical Projects [biz.yahoo.com]
If it wasn't for the Beowulf, Google as we know it would not have been possible. That lightning fast response time to queries is a direct result of the research done at Ames to turn COTS equipment into a distributed computing environment through some pretty clever Linux tricks.
I suspect a big part of the collaboration will be cross-pollination of ideas on distributed computing. Google took the concept in directions I don't think the researchers at Ames even dreamed of, and NASA still has some of the biggest brains in the field on their payroll, so it should be a win-win.