Google Mars 3-D Lets You Track Martian Spacecraft in Real Time

Google Mars 3-D Offers Guided Martian Tour

Armchair explorers can now spy on Mars orbiters and access raw spacecraft data from NASA — part of a new “Live from Mars” update for Google Mars 3-D.

NASA and Google, Inc., joined forces to launch the Mars add-on for the popular Google Earth platform in February. The March update includes new features such as watching orbital tracks of spacecraft in real-time, peeling back historical globe maps of Mars and taking a guided fly-around tour of the red planet.

“As exciting as the initial release of Mars was [in Google Earth 5.0], it was difficult for some users to figure out,” said Michael Weiss-Malik, product manager for Mars in Google Earth. Checking out a friend’s house on Google Earth is one thing, but trying to navigate the canyon system of Valles Marineris represents a bigger challenge.

Now confused or disoriented people can get their Mars bearings courtesy of a planetary tour narrated by Ira Flatow, radio host of NPR Science Friday.

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