Having idled away countless hours wandering the planet with Google Earth, I’ve recently discovered a feature that is guaranteed to dent my productivity even further. Instead of just being able to scan the home planet in 3D, you can now apply whole planet image overlays to transform the Earth into other planets.
Virtual intergalatic exploration was first made possible by the creation of animations for planets such as Mars and Saturn by the Google Earth project. One of the project’s community members has now come up with an animated overlay that lets you take a tour around the biggest of all the planets, Jupiter, using imagery taken by the NASA Cassini spacecraft in 2000.
After loading the animation, you need to click on ‘View –> Atmosphere’. Now you can either move the slider manually, or click on the triangular ‘Play‘ on the right-hand side of the gadget. It’s worth using the clock gadget on the left of the screen and turning up the speed a bit for a smoother animation. Expect to see overlays for the other planets in our solar system soon, allowing you to act out all your Captain Kirk-related fantasies.