You can explore various regions of the Earth in Google Earth. But did you know that the search giant also has a page dedicated to Mars? Following the same principle, the site allows anyone to know more details of the red planet. Below, I’ll explain what Google Mars is and show you how to access it.
What Google Mars is and how it works
As I mentioned earlier, Google Mars is a kind of Google Earth from Mars. This tool was created by Google in partnership with NASA researchers to allow interested people to know certain areas of the red planet. Although it doesn’t show as many details as on Earth (at least for now), this is a good exploration tool.
The site delivers three map views: elevation, visible, and infrared. The first shows a bump map, which has a color legend for each altitude range in the lower left corner, helping users estimate the altitude of the map. This mode was created based on data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument used to create topographic maps that belonged to the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which was in Mars orbit between 1997 and 2006.
In “Visible” mode, you can see the actual appearance of Mars. The developers decided to represent the planet in gray color, because according to them, this tint can display more details of the surface. The images were obtained by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), which also belonged to the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft.
Finally, “Infrared” mode displays infrared images obtained by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), a technology from Mars Odyssey, a spacecraft orbiting the planet since 2001. This map shows warmer areas in light gray, while the colder ones are in dark gray. As for the golden parts, they represent a high-resolution area created by the developers themselves to display precise details of the ground.
How to access Google Mars
First, I must warn you that the site is in English. Fortunately, Google has created a simple and intuitive interface, so the different language should not hinder usability. Another point that deserves attention is that Google Mars can be accessed in any browser, both pc and mobile. Here’s how to do this:
- Open the browser and access google.com/mars;
- Choose the view in the upper left corner;
- Scroll the mouse to zoom in or pinch the phone screen.
Okay, now you know what Google Mars is and how to access it.