Google Maps Now Has The Option To Look At Other Planets and Moons
A lot of people out there, ourselves included, oftentimes find themselves looking on Google Maps and Google Earth, scouring the landscape for hours on end. And even though, almost none of us can say that we’ve looked in most places on Earth, Google Maps now has a new feature that allows us to do the same thing on other planets like Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Pluto, as well as several of the icy moons in our solar system, including our own.
Working in close collaboration with NASA, Google engineers have developed a platform where we can navigate between various celestial bodies in our immediate neighbourhood, rotating and zooming on them as we pleased. The idea to create this new feature for Google Maps came after the Cassini spacecraft sent back hundreds of thousands of photos of Jupiter, Saturn and their respective moons.
Google explains: “Twenty years ago, the spacecraft Cassini launched from Cape Canaveral on a journey to uncover the secrets of Saturn and its many moons. During its mission, Cassini recorded and sent nearly half a million pictures back to Earth, allowing scientists to reconstruct these distant worlds in unprecedented detail. Now you can visit these places—along with many other planets and moons—in Google Maps right from your computer.”
Unlike the Earth Google Maps, this new feature here may be a bit more tricky to navigate since there is no search option yet available. But people are still free to explore and scroll around as much as they please. Google also mentions that they’ve worked in close collaboration with astronomical artist Björn Jónsson, in order to bring these images to life.
“Explore the icy plains of Enceladus, where Cassini discovered water beneath the moon’s crust—suggesting signs of life. Peer beneath the thick clouds of Titan to see methane lakes. Inspect the massive crater of Mimas—while it might seem like a sci-fi look-a-like, it is a moon, not a space station”, the Google press release reads.
I’m in contact with a Googler about the problem maps, which include Ganymede, Mimas, Enceladus, Dione, Rhea, Iapetus, Europa, and Titan.
— Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) October 17, 2017
Nevertheless, the maps aren’t perfect and there have already been several inconsistencies reported in regards with the labelling. Planetary scientist Emily Lakdawalla has already contacted Google in order to fix the problems. But in any case, if you’re a fan of Google Maps and Google Earth, you’ll definitely love this new feature