Google Earth 5 Beta Takes Users into Space, Under the Seas

Google has released the Google Earth 5 beta, a major update to its geographical exploration software. The new release adds the ability to explore below the oceans and also incorporates features for exploring portions of the surface of Mars.

Google Earth 5 beta, available now as a free download, includes a feature called "Ocean in Google Earth." It offers users the ability to explore the world's oceans using materials from several National Science Foundation-funded ocean and climate researchers, including Northern Illinois University's Stefan Vogel.

Version 5.0 also introduces Martian landscapes, adding new capabilities for exploring some areas of the Martian surface. The video below shows an example of zooming from Olympus Mons to the Mars Pathfinder landing site and rover location. And, as with other locations within Google Earth, elements within the locations on Mars can be clicked to reveal deeper information, with Wikipedia entries, panoramic views, digital media, and other types of expanded content.

Finally, Google Earth 5 beta also adds historical imagery that users can access, rather than simply the latest satellite imagery.

Google Earth 5 beta is available now as a free download for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Further information can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at He can now be followed on Twitter at (K-12) or (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at

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