Google Maps has just added perhaps the nerdiest of locations to Street View, the
Large Hadron Collider at CERN. For those of us who can’t actually go to Geneva and explore the underground tunnels of the world’s largest particle physics lab, it’s a rare look at some of the immense equipment that’s helping us answer the most basic questions about our universe.
The Street View team has a history of taking us to some of the coolest places on Earth, from Antarctic science centers to space shuttle launch pads to art museums.
Kennedy Space Center
Last year, when the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was busy decommissioning its space shuttles, Street View came in and took 6,000 panoramic images of the Atlantis and Endeavor shuttles, as well as the NASA center’s launch pads, runways and Vehicle Assembly Building. You can even see what astronauts call “the last bathroom on Earth.” Bonus: The little Street View man icon? He’s in a space suit.
Google expanded to Antarctic terrain in 2010. You can wander around the South Pole Telescope (pictured), go inside the NSF’s Crary Science and Engineering Center and hang out with penguins on Half Moon Island.
Art Galleries Of The World
Google Art Project used Street View’s cameras to explore work hanging in some of the world’s greatest galleries, from the Getty in LA to Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery to the Acropolis. You can even explore the White House! The best part is, there are no other tourists to stand between you and that painting you’ve been dying to see close up.
Google’s Data Center
Hey, Big Data. Catch a glimpse of what Internet dreams are made of by taking a tour through a Google Data Center, where probably all your life secrets are stored. You may even happen upon a storm trooper.
Retrace the historical steps of naturalist Charles Darwin through the Galápagos Islands, without the hassle of an actual trip. Check out the magnificent frigatebird (actual name), swim with some sweet sea lions and catch a glimpse of some blue-footed boobies.
Well, not the whole ocean. But Street View has 50,000 underwater panoramic views to explore, courtesy of the Catlin Seaview Survey. Snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef and off the coasts of Hawaii and the Philippines, where you can see manta rays, turtles and occasionally even other divers.
There’s probably no nerdier addition to Google Street View than its latest, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The underground labyrinth–located deep under the suburbs of Geneva–is home to some of the most advanced particle physics experiments of our time. Now you, too can get up close and personal with the tangle of machinery scientists are using to study quark-gluon plasma, dark matter and even the possibility of extra dimensions.