Mars globe on your desktop!

Check it out: GeoFusion has created a massive and free interactive 3-D globe of Mars, where you can zoom in to as close as 520km or zoom out till Mars is just a little ball far out in space. (It says the closest you get is 520km, but it seems a lot closer to me.)

Seeing Mars in a global setting (rather than as flattened pictures) really helps convey just how huge and grand the scale of Martian features are. When they tell you that the Valles Marineris is the same length as the continential US, it doesn't quite dawn on you as much as when you see it in context to the rest of Mars. The Valles Marineris is collossal.

Also, when you see the globe, the outlines of an ancient sea jump out at you right away (much more so than when you see isolated pictures). And, as it so happens, the largest concentration of detected water ice coincides perfectly with where you'd expect water to accumulate, given all of the outflow features north of Meridiani and Northwest of the mouth of the Valles Marineris (specifically, starting at Chryse Planitia, and including the Niliacus Lacus, and the Mare Acidalium). The only thing I'd add to it would be a topological overlay, so that you could tell by looking (rather than by reckoning) where slopes and valleys were, outside of the obvious northern hemispheric outflow geography.

The views that the program generates (from all sorts of comprehensive mapping and altimeter data) are just... magnificent! Take a look for yourselves.

(it is a 34 mb download, just so you know)

[via Martian Soil]

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Also, for a mere 11MB

Also, for a mere 11MB download, you can have most of the known universe on your desktop *in real-time* with "Celestia":http://www.shatters.net/celestia/, and it works on Linux and Mac as well as Windows. Plus, it is absolutely free.

Thanks for the link, Brian!

Thanks for the link, Brian! This globe will come in handy planning the locations of colonies in my Mars novel.

And thanks for your link, too, Qiwi - I'll have to download that one tonight.

The direct link to the Mars

The direct link to the Mars Demo is http://www.geofusion.com/MarsDemo. We are also working on a CD with high resolution imagery and local inserts. It should be available soon.

Enjoy!