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Google Earth lets you finally explore space on your phone

Google Earth lets you finally explore space on your phone
(Image credit: Google)

Google Earth for mobile just got a hell of a lot cooler. The latest update to the globe-traversing app finally lets you zoom beyond our planet to explore outer space. 

With the newest version of Google Earth for mobile, you can zoom out 30,000 miles above the Earth to view our planet in its fully spherical form. And surrounding our home planet you'll now see stars as mapped by the European Southern Observatory.

When you spin Earth with your finger, background stars from far away solar systems adjust to accurately reflect their placement in space. While I toyed with Google Earth iOS app on my iPhone, I spotted the Milky Way's pearly clouds in the palm of my hand.

This extraterrestrial feature previously worked on Google Earth's desktop and pro versions, but now mobile users can space out with, too. In a blog post Google credits the growing power of smartphones and tablets in helping improve the quality of the Google Earth app. 

"Before we added the star imagery, the sky around the 'big blue marble' view in Google Earth was simply black, which wasn’t very realistic," Google writes. "Realism is important to us—we want people using Google Earth to see our planet in context with our place in the universe."

Google Earth on desktop lets you explore even more advanced scenes from space, so there's reason to believe the mobile version will only improve as time goes on. I've never been a big fan of the app, but interactive maps of our solar system could probably change that. Unless commercialized space travel comes first, that is.