The OESS manages the Sphere Theater, which is equipped with NOAA's Science on a Sphere technology. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration originally developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to the general public. JMU and others are beginning to apply the tool in many disciplines.
Two computers control four video projectors that display data onto a six foot diameter sphere. Many of the current images for SOS use processed satellite data. The resulting image most commonly illustrates Earth so the sphere resembles a giant animated globe. The observer has the illusion of seeing Earth from an astronaut's perspective in space. It is also possible to create original projections and make the sphere appear like anything one designs, including another planet, a star, a basketball or an eyeball. A brief introduction to the technology is available.