Before you begin

From Pilbara

Jump to: navigation, search

Before you begin

The Virtual Field Trip, a desktop virtual reality tool developed in partnership between NASA and Macquarie University, enables users to join a group of thirty international scientists interested in viewing and interpreting what may be the earliest well-preserved evidence of life on Earth. Understanding our own origins is key to searching for life, past or present, on other worlds - in particular Mars.

The Virtual Field Trip tool links to other tools in the suite, including Virtual Lab, which allows you to examine a stromatolite with a virtual microscope, and a comparative tool called What's the Difference?, which allows comparisons to be made between modern and ancient environments on Earth and Mars.

For more information on using each program go to -

How to use the Virtual Field Trip How to use What's the Difference? How to use Virtual Lab How to use World Wind

Other programs you may need

To run the Virtual Field Trip you will need to have at least Quick Time 6 installed on your machine, or better still Quick Time 7. It is free and can be downloaded from

To run on a PC, Virtual Lab requires the Java Runtime Environment. It is available as a free download at and that site will also test for the presence of Java on your machine.

To use Virtual Lab on a Mac, simply launch the program, as Mac OSX ships with the Java Runtime Environment already installed.

Further information

For more information about the Pilbara project visit the Pilbara wiki at

For more information about these and other open source NASA tools visit




Early Life



Personal tools