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Website of the Week — Google Mars


Time again for our Website of the Week. It's an online destination that offers an up close-and-personal view of everybody's second-favorite planet.

Well, maybe not everyone's, but Mars has long captivated folks here on Earth. And now some very clever Earthlings have taken some of the same online mapping technology that helps us get around this planet and applied it to the next planet over.

OHAZAMA: "Google Mars is an interactive map application. … We've taken the technology from Google Maps and taken the data from NASA, and combined it together to show three different views of the Mars surface - from a thermal view to elevation views to visible spectrum. "

Chikai Ohazama is on the team that developed Google Mars.

The site is very user friendly. If you use the popular Google maps, you'll recognize the interface. If not, it only takes seconds to figure out how to zoom in on a crater, or use your mouse to move around the Martian surface. Ohazama expects everyone from kids to real scientists to explore the Red Planet with Google Mars.

OHAZAMA: "This particular one, actually, came from real data that some NASA scientists and researchers were actually using for their PhD thesis. Also, it's a great way to take something that was in that audience and bring it out to a wider group of people, to the consumer, just taking the information that was in their labs and so forth and bring it in a form that they're used to and walk through and sort of explore the surface of Mars."

TEXT: Ohazama says Google Mars is not the first website to feature images of the Martian surface, but he says his team has tried to offer something extra.

OHAZAMA: "One is that the resolution is probably some of the highest resolution imagery of Mars ever put together and brought to the public. There's some insets that are, like, around on the order of 18 meters in terms of the resolution. But it's just taking some very, very high resolution data and stitching it all together into a big mosaic so people can view it and see the landing sites of different rovers and different missions that happened before.

Check out some really amazing images from Mars. Send yourself on a Google Mars virtual tour of the red planet at google.com/mars, or get the link from our site, VOANews.com.

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