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Dave 15th March 2006 09:27 PM

Google Mars
Interesting that Google has launched an interactive Mars map ( I guess after all the effort they put into Google Earth it was a simple matter to use the same technology for the much simpler Moon and Mars versions.

I'm quite impressed with it. It won't be a lot of practical use for serious space buffs and it certainly doesn't compare with software like Starry Night, but that's not where Google is marketing it (yet).

The beauty of Google Mars is it's accessibility and usability. Free and easy to find, and very simple to use. Nice public-friendly features like the spacecraft landing sites.

Many non-space forums are talking about Google Mars, and by extension Mars itself, which can only be a good thing.

The one thing that did stand out as absent is a realistic visible Mars view. There are three view options (photo, elevation and infrared) which is great, but the photo version is black and white. Frankly I think it's going to look terribly boring to the average viewer. Seems a shame to have such a good resource let down like that.

Anyway, it does have lots of potential. There's talk of using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which will be fantastic. I'll be looking forward to it.

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