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A ‘World Wind’ Tour May 29, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in areology, selenography.

I discovered the other day, and installed last night, a stellar program for anyone interested in off-Earth colonization, selenology/selenography (and their Martian equivalent, areology), and coolness in general: NASA’s World Wind. (Note: it’s unfortunately Windows-only at the moment…*Nick’s bad childhood memories of limited Mac software recur*…).

Very similar to Google Earth, but with that NASA touch and focus, the program lets you look at Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) in that familiar Google Earth-esque interactive globe fashion. You can spin Mars around like an intergalactic DJ or, as is most relevant here, peer down at all kinds of features our beloved Luna, labeled and all.

The Lunar globe as it appears in the program.

A look at Mare Tranquillitatis and its color-coded features; yellow being craters, etc.

I’ll admit the Lunar globe is actually the iffy-est of the globes, despite the abundance of labeled features; it’s a little hole-ridden, especially on the Dark Side (understandably), and also rather noticably around the poles (and thus including some of the most important colonial features, like Shackleton and Malapert).

Still, it’s an awesome and easy-to-use program (screenshots are a breeze, as you see above), and it’s got its own giant Wiki to support it (the official site seems severely out-of-date beyond the download, and I believe the Wiki is why). The Mars globe is a blast, and all in all it’s a fascinating adventure of a program you could spend a lot of time enveloped in.



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