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The various faces of Google Earth

This article was written in partnership with the Google Earth Team, in order to bring to GE users all the news and features of this magnificent Google service.

In the previous articles, in addition to new Google Earth page, you were able to learn about little-publicized features of the service, such as the possibility of browse Street View inside GE, the viewing historical images and of course the possibility to see the relics of the 3D seabed, without leaving the front of the computer. But GEarth is not restricted to these features. We will cover, in today?s article, the sensational flight simulator embedded in Google Earth, the possibility of viewing the world in 3D from inside GMaps, in addition to the incredible tour that users can take on the Moon, Mars and the sky.

Flight simulator

Unlike all other features of Google Earth, the flight simulator allows users to fly over the entire globe as if they were, in fact, on an airplane. To start the application, simply access Tools and Enter the flight simulator. Keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + Alt + A (Windows) and Cmd + Option + A (Mac OS) also work.

Once selected, the simulator will display a screen on which users can choose between two types of aircraft (an F-16 fighter and an SR22 teco-teco). Still on the same screen, users must select where the flight will depart from. You can define the current location of Google Earth, or select one of the 28 airports available in the system.

If you have selected the option to start from the current view, the simulator will be loaded with the plane in flight. If you have chosen one of the airports, the chosen plane will be displayed on the runway, just waiting for the pilot?s commands.

To take off, first press the key Page Up to increase propulsion and move the aircraft around the runway. After the plane is in motion, move the mouse or joystick down slightly. With enough speed, you take off. To change the aircraft?s direction or tilt, make small movements with the mouse or joystick. Watch out for excess corrections. After the wings are level, center the mouse or joystick. To look around, press the arrow keys. arrow + Alt (slow) or arrow + Ctrl (fast). The directional keys on the keyboard also allow you to guide the planes.

Landing the plane is a little more complicated and requires some practice. To land it, approach the runway or suitable flat area, press Page Down to reduce propulsion and decelerate the aircraft, press G to lower the landing gear, press F to increase the flap setting. This slows down the aircraft. After landing, use the wheel brakes to slow the aircraft. Press the comma key (,) to apply the left wheel brake; press dot (.) to apply the right wheel brake.

Some interesting places to fly over are: Swiss Alps, Rocky Mountains in the United States, Mountains of New Zealand, Mount Everest. A complete list of all keyboard commands can be accessed at Google Earth Help Center.

Google Maps plug-in (3D maps)

The possibility of accessing, through a browser, satellite images and street maps, was already very cool. But Google was not content to offer just that to its users. Thus, the company made available, for download, a Google Earth plug-in that allows users to have access to all the images available on GE, without the need to open the application. To start navigating in 3D through Maps, simply access This page, install plu-gin, and have fun with GE?s beautiful images. ?

Moon, Mars and the sky

After exploring Earth, why not discover new horizons and explore maps of the Moon, Mars and the sky? With Google Earth, just click on the planet in the top bar, and choose which of the views you want to access. Below, a brief description of what you can find in each of the options:

Moon: take tours of landing points, narrated by astronauts from Apollo missions, view 3D models of spacecraft, zoom in on 360-degree photos to see the footprints of astronauts, and watch rare TV clips from Apollo missions.

Mars: view images obtained by NASA a few hours ago, on the Live from Mars layer, take an interactive walk through Mars, narrated by Ira Flatow of Public Radio, or by Bill Nye, the Science Guy, view models in 3D probes and follow its trail to see 360-degree panoramas in high resolution and search for famous Martian landmarks such as the Face on Mars or Mount Olympus.

Heaven: see constellations and the movements of planets, listen to astronomy podcasts and read expert research on the sky, create and share your own images, markers and more.

In the next article, we?ll talk about Google Earth for mobile, discuss the differences between Google Earth and Google Earth Pro, success stories involving the Google service and the GE Gallery.

Download now Google Earth and enjoy the full power of this Google tool.

This article was written by Ricardo Fraga, publisher of Google Discovery, and Daniel A., official Google guide on Google Earth Help Forum.