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NASA and Google Launch Virtual Exploration of Mars

screen shot of Google Earth - Mars

First, he serious science:
"MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA and Google announced Monday the release of a new Mars mode in Google Earth that brings to everyone's desktop a high-resolution, three-dimensional view of the Red Planet.

Besides providing a rich, immersive 3D view of Mars that will aid public understanding of Mars science, the new mode, Google Mars 3D, also gives researchers a platform for sharing data similar to what Google Earth provides for Earth scientists.

The mode enables users to fly virtually through enormous canyons and scale huge mountains on Mars that are much larger than any found on Earth. Users also can explore the Red Planet through the eyes of the Mars rovers and other Mars missions, providing a unique perspective of the entire planet.

Users can see some of the latest satellite imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and other probes orbiting the Red Planet. Viewers can learn about new discoveries and explore indexes of available Mars imagery. The new Mars mode also allows users to add their own 3D content to the Mars map to share with the world.

Today's announcement is the latest benefit from a Space Act Agreement NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., signed with Google in November 2006. Under its terms, NASA and Google agreed to collaborate to make NASA's data sets available to the world." - NASA Press Release 02 Feb 2009

Now, another slant from Google Operating Systems blog:
"Open the latest version of Google Earth, switch to "Mars" and search for "Meliza". Click on the small robotic icon and you'll be able to chat with Meliza, a friendly relative of Eliza, one of the first chat bots. A message informs Earthlings that "Meliza is using an account on a different planet. There may be translation errors." The chat bot has some predefined text related to Mars and it can't answer to many questions, but it's always ready to rephrase your messages.

Here's Meliza's first message: "Greetings, Earthling! What do you think of Google Mars? Have you checked out Valles Marineris? It's like the Grand Canyon, but bigger. Mars is so much better than Earth!"

Image from Google Operating Systems blog.