NASA, Google Unveil Mars in 3D

NASA, Google Unveil Mars in 3D
A screenshot depicting the red planet from the new Google Mars 3D.
(Image: © Google, Inc.)

NASA andGoogle, Inc., have teamed up to build the ultimateatlas for Mars fans eager to explore the red planet in three-dimensionaldetail while keeping their feet firmly on Earth.

Google Mars3D, a new mode included in Google?s latest version of Google Earth software, allowsusers to tap into high-resolution and three-dimensional viewsof Martian terrain from the comfort of their own personal computer.

The mode,which relies on NASA data and imagery from the agency?s Mars ReconnaissanceOrbiter and other spacecraft, is designed so users can ?fly? through Martiancanyons in a virtual mode and see the red planet?s surface through the cameraeyes of those long-lived NASA rovers Spiritand Opportunity, as well as other Mars missions.

?They canfly to the top of Olympus Mons, the tallest volcanoin our solar system, read geo-located excerpts about different locations on theplanet from ?ATraveler's Guide to Mars,? observe where various Mars rovers and landers have touched down and much more,? Google officialssaid in an announcement.

The newMars mode also includes a sharing feature so users can add their own 3D contentto the Mars map for all to see.

NASA?s AmesResearch Center in Moffett Field, Calif., collaborated with Google to build thenew Google Mars 3D mode. In addition to NASA data, the software includes dataproduced by researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University, SETI Institute andother organizations.

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