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Ryan AndersonFebruary 3, 2009

New Google Mars

This article originally appeared on Ryan Anderson's "The Martian Chronicles" blog and is reposted here with permission.

Google Earth's latest edition was just released and guess what? It has a Mars setting! There was a way to overlay Mars data on the Earth globe in previous versions, but now that's no longer necessary: just click a button and you're on Mars. You can choose from a variety of global maps including topography, Viking images, Day and nighttime infrared, and visible color. It also has footprints for high resolution cameras like HiRISE, CTX, MOC, CRISM, and HRSC, with links to the full-resolution images. And most exciting, it has 3D topography! Now you can fly around in Valles Marineris or check out the view from Olympus Mons.

Olympus Mons caldera

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum) / Google Earth

Olympus Mons caldera
The view from the edge of the Olympus Mons caldera in Google Mars.
Olympus Mons

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum) / Google Earth

Olympus Mons
Olympus Mons dominates the horizon in this Google Mars view.

Another way-cool feature is the ability to zoom into panoramas taken by rovers and landers, as shown here for Opportunity.

The Opportunity rover's traverse

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum) / NASA / JPL-Caltech / U. Arizona / Google Earth

The Opportunity rover's traverse
Each camera icon is a panorama that you can zoom into.
Opportunity's tracks

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell

Opportunity's tracks
Part of the Rub al-Khali panorama taken by the Opportunity rover.

And finally, you can load selected Context Camera images right onto the globe, to take a high-res look at areas of interest, such as the Olympia Fossae troughs shown here. I don't know what' you're waiting for: go download the program and try this out for yourself!

Olympica Fossae

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum) / Google Earth

Olympica Fossae
CTX image of the Olympia Fossae troughs.

Read more: pretty pictures, Opportunity, Mars Express, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars, 3D, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

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Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson

Planetary Scientist for U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center
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