Google Earth has the built in option to switch to the Moon or Mars. We have looked at various ways to look at other planets in the past. Many of the best came from James Stafford’s Barnabu blog. Last year we also showed you how to turn Google Earth into various planets using maps provided by the SETI Institute on the Google Maps Gallery. Sadly, they appear to be no-longer available.
NASA’s MESSENGER mission to the planet Mercury recently came to an end with the spacecraft running out of fuel and crashing into the planet on April 30th, 2015.
NASA provides a KMZ that you can download here. It essentially turns Google Earth into Google Mercury. So download it, and try it out. For best results, turn off all the Google Earth layers.
Also included in the KMZ are four Google Earth tours by members of the MESSENGER team. Be sure to check them out. There are also a large number of place markers, which, when you click on them, show a specific photo of the surface of Mercury and some detailed information and comments about the photo and what we can learn from it.