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Google's Space Mission

Is Google's NASA deal just the tip of the iceberg?

Google is tightening its relationship with NASA, announcing plans for a high-technology campus at the space agencys AMES Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

Under the terms of the 40-year deal, Google will lease 42.2 acres of “unimproved land” in the NASA Research Park to construct 1.2 million square feet of offices and R&D facilities. Breaking somewhat from tradition, the notoriously secretive agency has even provided a visual overview of the site on Google Maps.

This is not the first time that Google and NASA have pooled their resources. In late 2006, for example, NASA announced plans to tap into Google’s vast server and storage resources to support its space research.

Other joint projects include the "Planetary Content" initiative for publishing planetary data on the Internet, and "Global Connection," which embeds geo-referenced stories and images in Google Earth for disaster response.

As well as getting access to prime real estate, the NASA deal also serves as an effective branding vehicle for Google, pushing the vendor’s reputation for cutting-edge technology through the roof.

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