Today, Google released Google Mars. Utilizing Google Maps to provide an interactive map of Mars, much like the Google Moon project, was accomplished by a partnership between Google and Arizona State University’s THEMIS project.
Google Mars features three methods to view our red neighbor:
- Elevation - A shaded relief map, generated with data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. This map is color-coded by altitude, so you can use the color key at the lower left to estimate elevations.
- Visible – A mosaic of images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. MOC is like the digital camera you have at home. Basically, this is what your eyes would see if you were in orbit around Mars.
- Infrared – A mosaic of infrared images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Warmer areas appear brighter, and colder areas are darker. Clouds and dust in the atmosphere are transparent in the infrared, making this the sharpest global map of Mars that’s ever been made.
Although data is not yet available for Google Earth, a video fly-through of Valles Marineris, the largest Canyon on any of our solar system’s planets is available.