by Graham Pierrepoint
If you’ve ever had trouble using Google Maps to find your way around, be prepared to take a deep sigh of relief – as it seems that there’s a huge expansion on the cards. Get ready to be rattled once again, however, as the expansion seems to be letting us in on the big black void around us as opposed to the maze-like neighborhoods we find ourselves in. Believe it or not – none of these words are making this up – Google has now made it possible for us to go and visit Pluto from our own PCs and smartphones.
The International Space Station had recently been unveiled as part of Maps’ latest expansion – and you can even go for a walk there on Street View – but the big G appears to have gone even further by allowing humanity to reach beyond their mortal realm, should they wish to. If you thought you’d zoomed out all you could on Maps before, feel free to try it again – as you’ll now be taken right out into the stratosphere, where you can not only see Earth in all its majesty, but even 12 different surrounding asteroids and planets with additional annotations – with Pluto, the former planet, lingering away off to the side. It’s thought that the latest Maps project was brought together thanks to image captures that are around two decades old – and it’s thanks to Bjorn Jonsson that Maps users are now able to go exploring more than their local neighborhoods and cities. If you really want to, you can go on a little space flight all of your own – thanks to the stunning availability of various captures and visual data from up in the heavens. It really is incredible to look at – and think about.
This is the first time that Google Maps has truly expanded beyond the mortal gravity we’re all currently glued to. What’s next – will Google allow Elon Musk in to develop its maps on his proposed Lunar and Martian colonies? Who’s to say – but the thought of being able to explore the universe from the comfort of our homes and handheld devices may not be quite as sci-fi as it seems. Keep watching the skies, as an old sci-fi adage once warned us!