NASA and Google bring Mars to PCs everywhere
With Google's help, web surfers can now navigate from the plains of Meridiani to the Proctor Crater Dunes on Mars as though they were two local destinations.You can find it at Google Mars . Happy exploring.
Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility and Google teamed up last summer to produce Google Mars (www.google.com/mars/), a mapping tool released Monday, which allows users to view and scroll across the surface of the Red Planet, visiting its many landmarks.
"The goal here is to bring Mars to the general public, to give them access to a tool that lets them explore Mars in the same way that Google Earth lets you explore the Earth," says Robert Burnham, spokesperson for the Mars Space Flight Facility in Tempe, Arizona, US.
More than 17,000 images from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey orbiters fed the planet-spanning mosaic, which can be viewed as a colour-coded relief map showing surface elevation, a collage of optical images or as a product of infrared measurements. The software that allowed the individual images to be pieced together was written by Noel Gorelick from Arizona State University (ASU).
Users can see tagged features such as mountains, canyons, dunes, plains, ridges and craters on the Martian surface. Each tag comes with additional information such as coordinates, size, and date of discovery. And if a particular feature is named after a person or a place, there is information about its namesake.