New Google Mars Images Are Even Sharper Than Google's View Of Our Own Planet

Gale Crater

Photo: Google Mars

Google Mars is a spin-off of Google Earth that shows interactive maps of the Red Planet’s surface.  The feature was released in 2009 as part of the free downloadable Google Earth app, but until now, most of the satellite images were low-resolution.  

The program received a major update this week, thanks to high-definition images beamed back from the Context Camera on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Now, Earth-bound folks can hone down to 20 feet per pixel on the planet’s surface.

That’s a crisper picture than most areas of our planet covered by Google Earth, which typically have a resolution of 50 feet per pixel, Wired’s Adam Mann points out.  

Ready for a tour?

Previously, only small patches of the planet's surface could be seen from images taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

All of those grey swaths are the new images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's camera, with a resolution of about 20 feet per pixel.

The update also includes tours of the four potential landing sites NASA considered for the Curiosity rover. Mawrth Vallis was one of those spots.

Curiosity ultimately hunkered down in Gale Crater (shown here) on Aug. 5, 2012.

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