Microsoft

The Earth's not big enough for Google

There seems

to be a new Space Race heating up. The Europeans have recently launched a probe

to Venus. Russia has been almost single-handedly supporting the International Space Station

while the shuttle stays in the shop. China has successfully launched

taikonauts into space and has its sights set on the moon. Even Japan has

launched its own satellites.

The United States hasn't

been spending all of its time applying chewing gum and duct tape to the

space shuttles however. President Bush's recent realignment of NASA's goals

have focused it on the moon as well. Beyond that, in a "Been There, Done

That" stretch goal, NASA is hoping to use the moon as a jumping off point

to ultimately land a man on Mars.

Meanwhile,

NASA is getting a lot of practice sending missions to Mars. With rovers

crawling over Mars for over 2 years now and new orbiters and landers in the

works, we're learning more about the planet every day. Now's your turn.

Having

previously put planet Earth at your fingertips with Google Earth, Google

has recently opened up Google Mars.

While not yet quite as sophisticated as Google Earth, Google Mars takes

advantage of mapping satellites that have flown over Mars and merged their data

with the power of Google Maps.

What you

get in return is a fascinating view of our next door neighbor.  You can

view the location

of the Viking Landers, the Sprit rover, the Opportunity Rover, and where

Britian's Beagle 2 crashed. You can even view major geographic locations such

as Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, and the famous Happy

Face Crater. Finally, if you're a true Trekkie, you can even view the

future location of the StarFleet shipyards at Utopia

Planitia.

Although at

this point Google Mars isn’t as practical as Google Earth, it still makes for

some interesting browsing. It’s also a good way to see what’s on Mars before you buy land there.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox