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Mars in Google Earth

Mars mode in Google Earth was released to the world on February 2, 2009, as part of Google Earth 5. Mars mode includes global-scale and some local-scale 3D terrain; featured satellite images, including captions describing the science behind the breathtaking scenes; detailed maps of the Mars rover traverses, including StreetView-like panoramas; complete browsable indexes of all satellite images taken by the major orbital cameras; and much more.

Besides providing a rich, immersive 3D view of Mars that will aid public understanding of Mars science, Mars mode in Google Earth gives researchers a platform for sharing data similar to what Google Earth provides for Earth scientists. The new Mars mode also allows users to add their own 3D content to the Mars map to share with the world.

Global Imagery and Terrain


Google Mars 3D lets you fly through a model of Mars that combines data from a range of NASA and other sources. The global base map was created using wide-angle imagery from NASA’s Viking orbiters and the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on board NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor satellite. It is derived primarily from the Mars Digital Image Map version 2.1 (MDIM 2.1), assembled by the USGS from approximately 460 Viking images. MOC imagery and the Viking Color Mosaic were used to adjust the global appearance of the map, which was also color-corrected to roughly match modern estimates of the appearance of Mars.

The higher-resolution sections of the map are derived from the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express satellite (large full-color swaths of data running north-south, including higher-resolution terrain) as well as from the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (greyscale and false-color ultra-high-resolution insets).

NASA Landers and Rovers


Learn about all the missions to land on Mars, including NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) and the Phoenix lander. Explore the rovers’ paths through rich 3D terrain and high-resolution imagery, and see through the eyes of the robots themselves with full-resolution panoramas. See 3D models of some of the rovers and landers themselves in the context of the local terrain, and learn about the data collected at each step of the rovers’ journeys.

Global Data and Satellite Imagery Index Maps


The Global Maps layer offers alternate global views of Mars, including a global terrain map and day-time and night-time infrared imagery. The Satellite Imagery layer lets you browse through all the images taken by five of the major Mars orbital cameras, including thumbnails, technical information about each observation, and links to the NASA Planetary Data System where scientists can download the raw data for processing.

Rich, Explorable Imagery


View full-resolution satellite images of Mars like you’ve never seen them before: in 3D! This sequence flies into Pangboche Crater on Olympus Mons, revealing the breathtaking imagery taken by the Context Camera (CTX) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

Ultra-High Resolution


The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reveals the surface of Mars at resolutions even higher than are available for the Earth, up to quarter-meter resolution, sharp enough to reveal individual rocks and boulders on the surface! These false-color images show dark sand dunes at the Martian north pole, an unusual circular depression near Elysium Mons, a candidate MSL landing site Nili Fossae trough, and the swiss cheese terrain of south polar residual ice cap.

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