Outer Space is a large part of my day job, so when I heard that asteroid 2012 DA14 was heading for a fly-by of Earth on February 15th, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a Cesium demo. I think it turned out rather well.

One particularly cool aspect of the asteroid passage is how it looks in Columbus View, Cesium’s 2.5D projection. You can clearly see that the asteroid breaches the GEO belt at its closest approach. Even though it’s still 20,000 miles (32187 km) above the surface of the Earth, it’s considered a close call when your dealing with the enormity of space.

You’ll notice that this is our first demo that features a 3D model. We’re implementing the still-in-progress glTF format, which you can read about on the Khronos GitHub page. Our model support is still early alpha, much like the spec itself, but you can read about our plans on the roadmap or checkout out the code on our models branch.

For those curious as to how we generated the data for the demo itself, we started with a scenario originally built in STK and ran it through an in-development tool which takes an STK scenario and generates CZML. As the CZML spec solidifies, we hope to see more applications supporting it as a standard output option.

You can link directly to the demo at http://cesiumjs.org/2012DA14.