Monday, February 2, 2009

Google Mars

So I updated to Google Earth v5.0, and spent my evening on aimless flybys. Because I'm a nerd, that's why. (And I have no television.) Most folks have downloaded this at some point, found their house, found their pals, found the Roman Colosseum, whatever. If you're a true dweeb, you've also blown a weekend or two toying with Google SKY, released somewhere around version 3.whatnot, to see views from the Hubble Telescope.

The newest release has a brilliant new ocean floor terrain feature. Every time you find the edge of a tectonic plate, somewhere a new geek gets their wings! And even more magical: the complete mapping of planet Mars. This and the Moon have been in the flat maps for awhile, but now it is dynamic in their client application!

MARSReady, set, run updater.exe... in the main Google Earth 5.0 toolbar click the planet icon. Choose Mars, then have some fun by cutting and pasting these coordinates into the FLY TO Field:

-1.94 -5.52
Zoom in to follow the 5-year path!
72.49 164.31
Zoom out again to see where you are...
45.68 0.00
18.40 226.0
81.59S 296.7E

You can also just type in stuff like Face on Mars, Newton Crater or Marte Vallis and it will spin there. UK, Russian, and American landers are marked with national flags, whereby you can click their camera icons for panoramic views of the terrain. WAY COOL.

Happy Hunting.