Check here often for the latest news about our virtual projects.

Virtual Projects Latest News

Sample Download Bug And Workaround

The latest version of Virtual Microscope has an incompatibility with some recent operating systems that is resulting in some users not seeing any available samples to download in their 'Get More Specimens' section. Read about the workaround if you are having this problem.

NASA and St. Leo Post COGS Website

NASA and Saint Leo University have posted their COGS Website to support teaching and learning with the Virtual Microscope. The site includes lesson plans by teachers who have used our software in the classroom, a discussion forum for those teachers, and more. The project is run by our collaborator, Dr. Laura Blasi, a professor of education at St. Leo. Check it out!

Virtual Microscope Wins Award

The Virtual Microscope has been awarded a NASA Software Award by Michael Griffin, the NASA Administrator. This award recognizes significant technical contributions to NASA. Congratulations to the Virtual Microscope team!

Software Update Simplifies Addition of Samples

The highlight of the version 5.3.5 release is a split-pane loading screen showing both the previously downloaded samples and the samples available for download over the internet from our server. Users can download and install new samples, ready for viewing, with one click within the Virtual Lab software. This dramatically simplifies the task which previously generated the most help requests. Visit our downloads page to get the new release!

New Samples: EM and EDS

Ten new EM samples and three samples with EDS data have been added to our data page. Among the new samples are a Stromatolite and Gecko foot as well as Costa Rican sand. Visit the data page and check them out.

Version 5 Released

We recently released Version 5 of our Virtual Microscope application. This release includes the ability to view spectra and X-ray maps from an Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) detector in certain samples. As mentioned above, there are three new samples with EDS data to try in the new software. Please download Version 5 and try it out.

In addition, we have updated all of our samples to conform to the new specimen file format (old samples are still backwards compatible with the new version).

Virtual Lab in the Journal Science

The Journal Science Cover image The Journal Science recently highlighted the Virtual Lab project in their Netwatch column.

"Many beginning students never get closer to an electron microscope than the photos in their textbooks. But anyone can get a sense of what the instrument can do by downloading this simulator from NASA's Kennedy Space Center," says the blurb.

You can view a PDF of the page here.

Discussion Forum Added

We have added a Discussion Forum to the site as a home base for addressing issues such as installation problems, performance questions, feature requests, and bug submissions.

ITG Releases New Beta, version 2.0b

ITG stock image We are proud to release a new beta of our virtual instrument code. This version integrates the previously separated instruments into one application that changes function based on the specimen. It also includes faster rendering, specimen annotation tools, and more. You can get your own copy of the application on our downloads page.

ITG Virtual Projects Site Launched

We have just launched an entirely new site to house our growing collection of datasets, code, fileformat info, help animations, and other things related to our virtual microscopy project. In addition to what you see here today, we intend to add a lot in the near future, including a bulletin board for discussion about the virtual lab, automated specimen generation tools for submitting your tiled data into our specimen repository, etc. Let us know if you have suggestions.

Collaborators and Users

In the short time our software has been available, we have initiated a number of collaborations with various groups, including secondary school teachers, educational researchers, national science centers, and more. What follows is an abbreviated list of those relationships.

If you are interested in working with us, please let us know.

Educational Outreach and Evaluation

NASA has created teacher training activities, lesson activities, and an educational evaluation of the effectiveness of the Virtual Laboratory. This work, specific to our Virtual Microscope, has been conducted by Dr. Laura Blasi from the University of Central Florida.


A list of presentations that featured or highlighted our virtual instrumentation work.

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