Google Maps lets you explore the moon and Mars

Google Maps is Google's way of showing us how to get from Point A to Point B. But now Google Maps is taking us even farther than we had expected. Thanks to the world's largest search engine-turned-service-provider, we're going to the moon.

Engadget writes that you can now explore the moon -- and Mars -- with Google Maps without ever having to leave the comfort of gravity.

Google released a brief video showing us how it's done. Zoom out as far as you can, then click on the two down arrows on the left-hand side of the screen. (For me, it didn't quite work the same way: After zooming out, I had to first click on Earth before clicking on the Explore arrows.) From there you can select the moon or Mars.

The two heavenly bodies aren't close to being fully explorable, but there are still some interesting facts to glean. Google provides a pop-up of such details as the origin of the location's name, as well as its length. And if you click on the "Learn More" button, you get sent to the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, which provides even more minutiae.

Although this comes courtesy of Google Maps, it appears that Google Sky and Google Earth may have had a hand in the making of this feature.

It's not a map to the stars, but it is a map to the closest outer-planet neighbors we have. Thanks, Google!

Via Engadget.

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