Google Maps has officially gone extra-terrestrial. Not only can you hunt for places to eat in Colombo: now you can also browse, zoom and explore the barren craters of the Moon and check out Olympus Mons on the Red Planet.
Reaching this is simple: go to maps.google.com, zoom all the way out and hit the tiny “Explore” button on the lower-right-hand corner. A small selection of planetary bodies will appear at the bottom. For now, it’s just got the Moon and Mars, but it looks like the devs have left space for others. Select the Moon or Mars and start zooming in.
Don’t expect to skim over every crater and go “wow” at the detail – none of these bodies have been fully mapped out yet, and imagery is still very sketchy in areas. You’ll find yourself running into alternating pockets of low-res and high-resolution photos – especially on Mars. Nevertheless, it’s a boon to stargazers. The beauty of this is that you don’t need anything special to access all of this – as long as you’ve got internet access and a decent browser, you’re good to go.
The image data’s from NASA, JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency), the European Southern Observatory, NOAA and others.