Google Moon, Google Mars, and Beyond

This is the Web page accompaniment for our 2007 Fall AGU poster, abstract number P41A-0204, with the above title. The authors are R. A. Beyer, M. D. Hancher, M. Broxton, M. Weiss-Malik, N. Gorelick, N. Steber, and R. Kofman.

The New Google Moon

While the initial implementation of Google Moon was the result of an April Fool's day joke (there was swiss cheese at the highest zoom level), the new version of Google Moon provides a more robust map base, interactive features, and compelling content.

Google Moon's primary map base is the Clementine visual mosaic, assembled by the Astrogeology Branch of the USGS. The elevation map is currently based off of the ULCN control network, but we look forward to replacing it with the improved Lunar altimetry, once it is available.

There is also rich content available for the six Apollo landing sites. Each site has a detailed map of the landing area, and placemarks which highlight the astronaut activities from scientific measurements to fun activities. Visitors can select individual placemarks, or follow them in the order which the astronauts did them. Each placemark contains links to more information.

There is a wealth of historic geologic and topographic charts of the Moon provided by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), which we have reprojected and placed on Google Moon. By clicking on the 'Charts' button and navigating to your desired location, the chart will be brought up. The map portion has been reprojected and georeferenced, but the collar information with the explanatory text and legend is also available.

Google Maps API access to Moon and Mars maps

Google, Inc., has released a new version of their Google Maps application program interface (API) which allows anyone to use the Moon and Mars basemaps as a basis for their own projects on their own Web pages. If you are familiar with the Google Maps API, this modification simply adds new sets of map types for you to use:

map = new GMap2( element, {mapTypes:G_MARS_MAP_TYPES});
map = new GMap2( element, {mapTypes:G_MOON_MAP_TYPES});

This page shows all of the different map types available.

A complete code example and examples of using the API for Lunar maps can be found at http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/moon/.

Here is an example of what a HiRISE data page with a Google Maps Mars loction map down at the bottom. You can see the actual HiRISE page here.

Using Google Earth as a Mars browser

By using JPL's OnMars server Google's Earth can be clothed in Mars basemaps. Although not an ideal solution, since it is still the Earth behind there (with the Earth's radius, and driving directions to the nearest pizza joint), it can still be very useful for finding your favorite area and finding out if there is any coverage by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's (MRO's) Context Camera (CTX) or the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), by combining the OnMars basemaps with KML continuously updated by the HiRISE team. For more information about how you can use Google Earth this way, visit this Orrery.us article.