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Google Goes to Mars 119

Posted by Zonk
from the wave-bye-bye-google dept.
Kynn writes "Google has launched Google Mars, based on the work done by Arizona State University's THEMIS researchers. With an AJAX-driven interface based on Google Maps (and Google Moon), you can search the Red Planet in false-color elevation, black-and-white visual, or infrared. Be sure to check out the so-called Face, the landing sites for Spirit and Opportunity, and the Polar Lander."
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Google Goes to Mars

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:26AM (#14906645) Journal
    Since Kynn told me to check out the "so-called face" on Mars, I was much obliged.

    Unfortunately, after sorting through the list of stories and finding #116 (The Face on Mars [msss.com]) and #118 (The So-Called Face on Mars [asu.edu]), I could only make out the mound when looking in infrared. Also confusing is that two different locations are given (40.68N, 9.54W & 40.75N, 9.46W with the latter looking to be the correct location).

    The level of detail you can see is not very high so you really shouldn't check out the face; just visit one of the above websites.

    Instead of that boring face, check out The Happy Face Crater [msss.com] (#117 in the list of stories). Now that is one content crater. Put that image in tie-dye relief colors, screen it on a t-shirt and you've got one product that will sell to millions of hippies world-wide.

    Let me see, if I know my European history, here's the business model :

    1. Send explorer, make him bring back maps with everything named in my language. Check.
    2. Identify resources.
    3. Send less friendly "traders" to said foreign land & requisition land from natives by asking chiefs to sign "treaties" in a language they don't understand (legalese).
    4. Make sure the rest of the world doesn't know what you're doing. Masks of philanthropy or the spread of some major religion work the best.
    5. Do not forget that manpower is a resource and is yours for the taking. The best kind of manpower is free manpower.
    6. Sap land of all resources (Profit!).
    7. Discard ... er, "liberate" colony and allow it to fester in the chaos that you created.

    When I looked at the map, I didn't see any dividing lines or (most importantly) flags. Does anyone want to visit Mars to open trade and represent king eldavojohn?

    I'm reminded of a Cecil Rhodes Quote:
    "I would annex the planets if I could."
  • by Peregr1n (904456) <ian.a.ferguson@gmail.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:31AM (#14906680) Homepage
    I really like the Elevation/Visible/Infrared options - I wonder if they have similar data for Earth? It would be fascinating to study a city in infrared.
    Of course, they have elevation data for the executable Google Earth but it would also be interesting to see a colour map.
  • Re:profit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ROOK*CA (703602) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:37AM (#14906714)
    Yes on the surface on might conclude that this is a solution looking for a problem until you stop and consider that research organizations and governments have already spent a significant amount of money on planetary mapping missions (Venus, Mars, Titan for example), Google has provisioned the technology to put the results back in the public domain (in an easy to use format), which I would also imagine will drive at least some additional traffic to their site. It seems that they are only adapting the existing google maps technology to new data and not writing the code base from scratch (so it was probably not all that costly).

    One might also conclude as this technology continues to evolve that it will ultimately be saleable (universities for example?) in it's own right, in which case this is all R&D and testing which could thru advertising pay for itself.

    On another note, I'm looking forward to seeing "Google Venus" using the radar mapping data of the Venusian Surface, should be interesting.
  • What I want to know (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordSnooty (853791) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:42AM (#14906740)
    The "elevation" view shows a range of elevations; 21km to -9km or roundabouts. What I want to know, is how do you define "sea level" on Mars? What is the elevation above or below measured against?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:17AM (#14906987)
    . That would be cool! Glide over cm and cm of your favourite babe.

    Grits extra.
  • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:29AM (#14907087) Homepage
    Landing something at such an altitude could prove problematic - in that it's above a large proportion of the (already very thin) Martian atmosphere. Which means you can't use aerodynamic braking, parachutes and so on to slow down much, instead you'd need some particularly chunky retro-rockets to dispose of the somewhat considerable velocity the probe received when being boosted from Earth orbit.

    A second, slightly deeper alternative could be Valles Marineris - although I read somewhere that it's so huge, if you stood in the middle you wouldn't be able to see the multi-kilometre-high cliffs at the sides, thanks to the curvature of Mars. A lot of the 3D renders and fly-throughs around seem to have pretty extreme vertical exaggeration.

    Martian geology tends to work on a stupendously huge scale, and some of the largest features probably won't look all that great from the ground. Maybe we need to look for the smaller features, which are still far larger than anything similar on Earth - like those giant cliffs I mentioned earlier...
  • Great! Now I can ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whitehatlurker (867714) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:44PM (#14909517) Journal
    I can now search for craters on Mars [slashdot.org]. Oh, wait ...

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