Big updates to Google Mars

Introduced in 2009 as part of Google Earth 5, the Mars feature continues to be an amazing feature to show people in Google Earth. As time has progressed, Google has slowly brought new features to Google Mars, such as the 360 panorama they released a few months ago.
mars-ctx.jpgThanks to new imagery from the Context Camera (CTX) on the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we now have a lot more amazing imagery to view on the red planet.
To get started, click on the planet icon at the top of your Google Earth screen and choose “Mars”, or choose [View] –> [Explore] –> [Mars] from the menu bar. Once on Mars, enable the [CTX Mosaic] layer as shown to the right.
At first, it doesn’t look great. You get a bunch of gray bands that kind of clutter things up — sort of the opposite of “pretty earth“. However, zoom into one of those areas and you’ll see why this feature is great — the image quality is amazing! As you can see from the side-by-side images below (via Wired), the difference in quality is staggering.


The quantity of imagery available on Mars is amazing, and the various Layers can provide quite a lot of data. Spend some time exploring the planet and you’ll be amazed by what you can find.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Same for the Moon.
    Nice LRO Imagery!!!

  2. Dave Timpe says:

    I do wish they’d suppress the “My Places” display when visiting other planets. I really don’t need to know where my house would be if it were on Mars.

Leave a Reply