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February 2, 2009

Shouldn't it be called Google Mars?

Posted: 06:34 PM ET

It's apparently no longer enough for Google to map almost every corner of the Earth. Now the Internet's 800-pound gorilla is turning its attention to the universe.

The Echus Chasma, one of the largest water source regions on Mars. Photo: Getty Images

NASA and Google announced Monday the release of a new Mars mode in Google Earth that brings to everyone's desktop a high-res, 3D view of the Red Planet.

According to a NASA news release, the mode enables users "to fly virtually through enormous canyons and scale huge mountains on Mars that are much larger than any found on Earth." Users can explore the planet through the eyes of Mars rovers and see satellite imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and other probes.

Google's Mars mode also allows users to zoom in and out, as with Google Earth, and add their own 3D content to the Mars map to share with the world.

The announcement stems from a 2006 agreement between NASA and Google. It came in conjunction with Monday's unveiling of Google Earth 5.0, which allows users to explore Mars in the same way that previous versions of the software offered 3D images of our own planet.

Wow! Impressive. Google's Saturn mode is probably just around the corner.

–Brandon Griggs,

Filed under: Google Earth • Mars

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Dylan from MN   February 2nd, 2009 7:04 pm ET

That's awesome!

But on a serious note, Saturn would be impossible since it's surface is made entirely of gas. Venus or Mercury would be a far better candidate. 😉

Franko   February 2nd, 2009 7:34 pm ET

Instead of throwwing money at the wailing wall of economic depression
Hoping that some will stick, and the bankes will lend to dead donkeys
Or buy slaves for the autocratic, corrupt, dictatorial, corporations

Open a settlement on Mars

Christoper   February 3rd, 2009 9:06 am ET

I wish Google would finish publishing our globe, the US or even just Maine. I see others zoom in on their houses. I zoom in and see a blurry mess because there is no definition in my area. Come on, Google, take care of your own back yard first!

Bruce Parsons   February 3rd, 2009 10:25 am ET

"Google’s Mars mode also allows users to zoom in and out, as with Google Earth, and add their own 3D content to the Mars map to share with the world."


Where do I volunteer to drive the "street level" camera car? Are they hiring?

MichaelB   February 3rd, 2009 12:26 pm ET

Now maybe all those dorks who think there's a face or whatever on Mars will be happy.

Dr. Manhattan   February 3rd, 2009 2:50 pm ET

What a shame that these are the only comments when we are presented with the unprecedented opportunity to explore an, until now, unknown world. And not just any world, Mars a planet that has spurred the human imagination for over a century.

John   February 3rd, 2009 4:04 pm ET

Google Saturn would be silly: it's a gas giant planet with no surface to image.

Mark Benson   February 4th, 2009 8:13 am ET

I am not so impressed. With the advent of the "digital" age getting ready to commence by Feb. 2009, images like this are a dime a dozen. They can now visually manipulate anything.

dan in Tucson   February 4th, 2009 9:21 am ET

COOL!!!!!!! Another thing to distract me from the work day.

Ron   February 4th, 2009 9:29 am ET

I would like to see a 3D map of the moon as well, NASA should have plenty of data from there

Keith   February 4th, 2009 2:00 pm ET

Or maybe not. The photos could still be retouched and sanitized before Google puts them online. I doubt that they will let anyone see something they're not suppose to think. Wouldn't be surprised to find out this is another disinformation campaign.

g   February 4th, 2009 9:45 pm ET

"Google Final Frontier". That should take them a while to get out of Beta mode... 😉

Roger Garrett   February 4th, 2009 11:15 pm ET

There's something seriously wrong with Google Mars. I was traversing Mars and noticed that the "landmarks" that I had previously set up for Google Earth, such as the location of the college I went to, were now appearing on Mars! Apparently it accesses the same landmark database for Mars as it does for Earth and positions them at the "correct" latitude and longitude, but on Mars, even though they are Earth locations.
Very funny! I found Barrington College and Palisades AMusement Park, now residing on Mars!.

Franko   February 4th, 2009 11:44 pm ET

Does not work - even wiped out my Earth rendering
My placemarks are there, brown backgroud, added Martian names
Switched to sky, searched for Mars, but low resolution
Need the $400 upgrade ?

Barbara   February 5th, 2009 3:50 pm ET

There isn't just one face, there are at least two. This _fact_ was announce well over a year ago by JPL and Goddard for those "dorks" who pay constant attention. For someone with opposable thumbs, you really a waste of a computer. Take a look at this video. Mars suffered a massive catastrophe. They've found cities under the ice. You need to open your eyes, then your mind.

Indian   February 5th, 2009 4:08 pm ET

It aint working. I can't dip and see the Marina trench in the Pacific nor I can see the rings of Saturn. Humbug

Martian   February 6th, 2009 10:38 am ET

Oh no, now Earthlings will see the truth and my people will be discovered! Quickly, cover the giant face with sand!!

Marsackboy   February 7th, 2009 6:49 pm ET

click the earth,sky and planets button,works great for me..

Franky   February 7th, 2009 9:25 pm ET

Pretty crazy stuff here. Plus, who would've thought we would have Mars in front of our faces?? Definitely much better than that prank when "supposedly" man landed on the moon...come on guys, you know is true, LOL!! I'm playing. Yeah right, as far as I'm concerned, those conspiracy theorists should visit North Korea...have a lot of common, you know, LOL!

Pavel   February 8th, 2009 9:40 am ET

The face on mars, and the 'cydonia' pyramids, will not go away until space tourism is established, and we get to see ourselves..

If this region is not represented on google mars, it will be uploaded in 3d soon by researchers.

As for 'dorks' and faces on mars. If NASA had kept up it's manned space missions instead of scrapping 3 perfectly good Apollo craft for no apparent reason, then mankind would have been on mars by now.

It's easier to get to and build a base on the moon, than to put up a space station, a lot cheaper too. President Barack Obama's new space policy involves a spacecraft capable of not only manned moon missions but one to mars as well.

HNLute   February 10th, 2009 1:04 pm ET

Downloaded and installed version 5 of GE. Found the Mars selection in a pull down box. One click and up came the planet in poor focus but improving over a minute to something pretty detailed. Alas! What's that...writting? Some photo labels and names of Earth-type cities. Ignoring those little errors...I went down to the surface with a few clicks and started up the Flight Simulator app and wowee I'm flying over Mars! Very cool indeed! Using a trackball to fly with is not for the faint of heart but my ol' Force Joystick is connected to the Windows 7 Beta machine so no go this time. Anyhow...kudos to the team at Google for more flying fun and I can't wait for Europa! Oh the hardware...nothing special...Radeon X800 Video card, AMD 2 Core 4400 cpuand 2 GB ram, Windows XP Pro.

Troy   February 10th, 2009 1:08 pm ET

I'll bet the company that makes the chips are in bed with someone. Otherwise, they would get rid of them.

Skeptical Investor   February 10th, 2009 9:12 pm ET

What most surprising about this story is that Google continues to spend time/money on astoundingly pointless projects.

Sure it's neat, but does it make Google MONEY? At some point Google will have to answer for it's frivolous projects. Considering that a little over a year ago Google stock was trading for more than twice what it is today, that day is getting closer and closer.

Project after project, Google fails to make any headway in diversifying their revenue pipeline.

Brad   February 10th, 2009 9:53 pm ET

Awesome enhancement! I really liked finding the current location of Spirit, the Mars rover. I remember when it landed, and now I can go to the landing site! I'm not sure about looking underwater, but I guess the sonar data is there to support it. Maybe I can hunt down all of those underwater landmarks in Red October, the movie!

Thanks for doing a great job.

Matt   February 11th, 2009 2:52 pm ET

Google Mars, that's great! When will they be adding Street View?

LB   February 11th, 2009 7:58 pm ET

This is cool but not that groundbreaking. I believe around 4 years ago NASA was selling the software that did this much better than Google's version for $20. On the bright side Google allows a lot more ppl to see it.

K   February 15th, 2009 2:46 pm ET

and they (US government/NASA) can't finish mapping New England!

Russ   February 15th, 2009 8:12 pm ET

The face on Mars is called Cydonia, while there are pyramidal "structures" near the "face" and also an object called the Fort, there is a lot of speculation around the place. Who knows? Maybe it is made by aliens, or not. Whats probably a more important question is the economic situation now though.

alex   February 18th, 2009 1:41 am ET

fine article, and very good of google to kick up interest in space by opening up a convenient universal window with which everyone can view the universe as the man made deep space probes saw the cosmos.

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