The NASA Visual Universe Project

Google has boldly gone where no other web giant has gone before – and the result is out of this world. It has taken 127,000 images captured by NASA since 1915 and analysed them using machine learning.

The effect is a rich Arts & Culture experiment that tells the space agency’s story (and that of cosmic exploration) from multiple visual perspectives.

After an animated introduction, the NASA Visual Universe project displays a host of circles, each of which contains space-related words and an indication of the number of images it includes. You can click any of these before refining your selection by selecting the ‘+’ icon and choosing supplementary topics.

It’s also possible to view enlarged images and browse a series of thumbnails and as if that wasn’t enough, you can search the images manually and read the captions that run alongside each one. Most have keywords and information extracted using Google Cloud Natural Language, which means you can easily get lost as you delve ever deeper and discover new images and paths. Indeed, clicking X takes you to a page where you can get new suggested insights. All the images can be shared and downloaded, too.