Not content with dominating cyberspace alone, it wants to extend its reach beyond the earth into the space, technology giant Google has just announced ambitious plans in collaboration with the premier space agency in the world NASA to embark ''on a number of technology-focused research-and-development activities that will couple some of Earth's most powerful technology resources.''
NASA and Google have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines plans for cooperation on a variety of areas, including large-scale data management, massively distributed computing, bio-info-nano convergence, and encouragement of the entrepreneurial space industry. The MOU also highlights plans for Google to develop up to one million square feet within the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field.
Under the terms of the 40-year lease, the campus-style setting will contain 1.2 million square feet of office and research and development facilities on 42.2 acres in the research park. The lease could be extended for up to 90 years, according to a Google, which will be paying NASA an initial rent of $3.66 million a year, subject to future increases.
"Our planned partnership presents an enormous range of potential benefits to the space programme," said NASA Ames Centre director G Scott Hubbard. "Just a few examples are new sensors and materials from collaborations on bio-info-nano convergence, improved analysis of engineering problems as well as Earth, life and space science discoveries from supercomputing and data mining, and bringing entrepreneurs into the space program. While our joint efforts will benefit both organizations, the real winner will be the American public," he added.
The Google management was no less enthusiastic. Eric Schmidt, the company CEO said, ''Google and NASA share a common desire - to bring a universe of information to people around the world. Imagine having a wide selection of images from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it. That's just one small example of how this collaboration could help broaden technology's role in making the world a better place.''
NASA said it will use the money it receives from the lease for maintenance and capital improvements at the site, among other things. NASA said it will retain control over the project during the construction phase, including approving the design, issuing building permits, conducting inspections and monitoring construction.
The enterprise has received full support of the local administration. "I'm thrilled that NASA Ames Research Center and Google, two of our region's and our nation's most valuable and innovative organizations, have formed a partnership," said Representative Anna G. Eshoo of California.
"As Silicon Valley continues to lead in developing technologies that will guide our nation's economy in the 21st century, partnerships combining the best in public sector innovation with the cutting edge of private industry will serve as the gold standard in public-private partnerships for years to come. The technologies created by the partnership of Google and NASA Ames not only will enable and enhance further exploration of space, it will positively impact the daily lives of all Americans for generations to come," she added.
The mayor of Mountain View, where Google is based, said that the city ''is excited that two of our community's most innovative and dynamic organizations, Google and NASA Ames Research Center, are forming a new research and development partnership at Ames. This new collaboration will undoubtedly result in new research projects and endeavors with tremendous potential for innovation and far-reaching benefit.''
Google's association with NASA isn't new; earlier they've worked together on Google Earth and other such projects, with this latest announcement the culmination of talks that began in 2005.