Yesterday we saw some really cool features added to Google Earth (we’re not sure that’s an apt name anymore but we’re not sure how else to refer to it!). Users visiting google maps, or Earth yesterday might have been surprised to see that it now features support for Mars and the Moon! That’s right, you can head over to google maps right now and check out stuff like the original moon landing spot or Olympus Mons, the biggest Mountain and Volcano in the solar system. Fun fact, Olympus Mons is actually so huge that if you were standing at the Summit, you wouldn’t be able to see the base. That’s right, it would actually extend beyond the horizon!
To gain access to the new features simply head over to Google Maps and zoom alllllll the way out. Eventually you’ll notice the small square in the bottom left corner which says “Earth” will expand to include the Moon and Mars as well. From there, select the extra planetary body you wish to explore and use google maps as you usually would. The first thing you’ll notice is that the level of detail is absolutely remarkable! You are able to zoom in to a level of about 120km above the surface. Major geological features, such as the aforementioned Olympus Mons will be marked.
In addition, there are two other features called Google Mars and Google Moon which gives you more of a maps feel, rather than the Google Earth three dimensional models. While we found little reason to check out the topography charts of mars there were definitely some cool things to check out on Google Moon. Specifically, heading over to Google Moon provides pins for each of the Apollo Landing sites and, to be frank, I was overcome with giddiness as I stared at satellite images of Neil Armstrong’s original landing site. Each of the landing sites are annotated with the details of the mission as well as little factoids for the curious.
While the feature may not be very practical it is definitely a very cool feature for Science, Tech, or Space fans alike. I personally felt an extreme sense of awe and admiration for humanity when I came to the realization that I was looking at satellite imagery from another planet! I think Google deserves praise for once again making the marvels of science and the universe available to the general public. We are in favor of anything that enlightens the masses, particularly in a manner as cool as this!