Now, you can recommend places to click on Mars!

May 29th, 2009 - 2:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 29 (ANI): Arizona State University (ASU) researchers and scientists have created a new feature for Google Earth 5.0, which would enable anyone, anywhere, to recommend places on Mars to photograph.

Google Earth 5.0 is the popular online application that lets users tour Earth, the starry sky, and the Red Planet Mars.

The ASU team has created two new features for the application, one of which lets anyone, anywhere, recommend places on Mars to photograph with ASU’s THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System) camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter.

The second new feature shows the most recent infrared images of Mars sent back to Earth from the THEMIS camera.

THEMIS is the Thermal Emission Imaging System, a multiband infrared and visual camera designed at ASU by Dr. Philip Christensen.

According to Dr. Christensen, “These two features, developed by our staff in cooperation with programmers at Google, will help everyone have a lot more fun exploring the Red Planet. It’s public engagement at its best.”

“We wanted to give the general public a way to suggest places on Mars for THEMIS to photograph,” he added.

“Using the new feature, people can recommend sites, and these recommendations go to mission scientists who will decide what areas THEMIS images. If a public suggestion matches what the researchers choose, we’ll notify the person who suggested the site and let them see the image as soon as we do,” he further added.

To suggest a place for THEMIS to photograph, viewers need two things: Google Earth 5.0 and a file that is updated each week giving the spacecraft’s Mars orbital ground track.

To get the orbital track, users should go to http://suggest.mars.asu.edu and follow the simple steps to register.

With the orbital track file downloaded, viewers start Google Earth and switch the globe to Mars (via the Planets toolbar button, which resembles the planet Saturn). Then, viewers open the orbital track file from within Google Earth.

Viewers can also just double-click on the orbital file once Google Earth has been set to Mars as its planet.

The places where THEMIS can take images during the coming week appear as stripes wrapped onto the Martian globe.

Viewers click on stripe segments to recommend places for THEMIS to photograph.

“Each viewer can make up to 10 imaging suggestions per week,” said Christian Yates, software engineer at the Mars Space Flight Facility. (ANI)

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