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Explore the Red Planet With the Mars Map Android App

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Mars Map

    PCWorld Rating

Mars, the most Earth-like planet in the Solar system, has long inspired dreams of human exploration and perhaps colonization. The Mars Map app for Android allows you to do your own exploration of the Red Planet. Mars Map uses imagery taken from NASA's Viking orbiter. Named features have color-coded labels: For example, blue labels indicate landing sites on the Martian surface.

You can pan and zoom your view using the touchscreen. Although the view is aerial-only, the level of detail is impressive. Mars has a varied and interesting topography, and this app displays it nicely.

The app has a search function that auto-suggests as you type. Clicking on a result takes you to the location.

As much as I like this app, it's not perfect. As you approach either of Mars' poles, the view becomes progressively more distorted until finally it's no longer viewable. That's too bad, because the polar regions contain some of the most interesting imagery.

In addition, it would be nice to be able to click a label and get more information--perhaps a link to a Wikipedia article. Also, the Viking ground probes took a lot of pictures. Seeing those would be appealing, too.

Other missions have orbited and landed on Mars; it would be nice to include that imagery as well. The ability to save screenshots and record notes would also be helpful.

As it is, this app is nothing short of amazing. The ability to visually tour another planet using a device you can carry with you is something that used to be purely in the realm of science fiction. The possibilities have only begun to be explored!

If you like this app, you might also be interested in the similar app Moon Maps, or the Augmented Reality astronomy app Google Sky Map.

Have you found another Android app to explore the cosmos? Contact Brent W. Hopkins on Facebook or on Twitter. You might also like other articles by Brent W. Hopkins.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Mars Map

    PCWorld Rating
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