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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
Google and Nasa in space venture
Computer image of a next generation spacecraft
Could Google help to land humans on the moon again by 2020?
Web search firm Google has formed a partnership with US space agency Nasa in an effort to harness new technology which could boost the space programme.

Google is to build a new office complex on the site of Nasa's research facility in California, close to its own headquarters in Silicon Valley.

The two companies will co-operate in a range of areas including IT solutions, data management and nanotechnology.

It would look to "bring entrepreneurs into the space programme", Nasa added.

A new frontier?

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding, although the financial terms of the joint venture were not disclosed.

Google is expanding rapidly and recently raised more than $4bn for new projects by selling shares in the company.

As part of the venture, Google will develop one million square feet of real estate at the Nasa Ames research centre.

Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive
Google and Nasa share a common desire
Eric Schmidt, Google

The centre, built in 1939, has been at the heart of the US space program for many years, conducting research into the Apollo moon missions between 1963 and 1972.

Nasa recently unveiled plans to make another moon landing by 2020.

Examples of areas of potential collaboration include the development of new types of remote sensors and improving analysis of engineering problems.

"Google and Nasa share a common desire, to bring a universe of information to people around the world," said Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and chief executive.

"Imagine having a wide selection of images from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it."

Scott Hubbard, director of Nasa Ames Center, claimed the partnership could provide a huge range of potential benefits to the space programme.

"While our joint efforts will benefit both organisations, the real winner will be the American public," he said.

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