Google Maps Now Lets You Explore the Solar System
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You can now explore space using Google Maps, with Google having added images from the planets and moons that make up our solar system. This new imagery lets you zoom out from Earth before exploring Venus, Mercury, Mars, Pluto, Europa, Ganymede, Titan, and others in glorious technicolor.

Google Maps has revolutionized the way we look at the world around us. It puts the whole of Planet Earth at our fingertips, letting homebodies explore foreign climes they’ll never visit in real life. And now, Google Maps is expanding out into the universe, allowing us all to become virtual astronauts.

Space, Google’s Final Frontier

Humans are fascinated by space. Which is why we like watching space documentaries. After all, as Captain Kirk likes to point out, space is the final frontier. Time and money notwithstanding, we can travel anywhere on Earth. But the rest of the solar system is proving to be more difficult.

The spacecraft Cassini spent 20 years traversing our solar system, capturing 500,000 images as it completed its mission. These images have allowed scientists to reconstruct the planets and moons neighboring Earth, and you can now visit these worlds for yourself using nothing but Google Maps.

You can start your journey into the unknown by visiting Google.com/maps/space/earth and clicking on the destinations listed in the left-hand sidebar. Or, if you would prefer to get an idea of the scale between these planets and moons, you can just keep zooming out from Earth until you hit one.

There are 16 celestial bodies to explore using Google Maps, 12 of which are new to the site. There’s Earth, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto, Ceres, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Mimas, Enceladus, Dione, Rhea, Titan, and Iapetus, plus, since July 2017, the International Space Station.

The Trick Is to Squint a Little

Even with Elon Musk’s plans to visit Mars we will all probably be stuck on Earth for the rest of their lives. So, Google Maps is currently your best chance of exploring the balls of rock and gas that make up our solar system. And if you squint a little, you can even pretend you’re actually there.

Do you use Google Maps? Do you use it to casually explore the world around us? Or use it for specific reasons such as researching future vacations? What do you think of Google’s efforts to expand out into the rest of the solar system? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Bernal Saborio via Flickr

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