July 21, 2009

Google Earth And NASA Unveil Google Moon

Google celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first footstep on the moon by unveiling a virtual moon exploration on the Google Earth map service.

Buzz Aldrin, the first person to step onto the moon, together with Google, X Prize Foundation, and NASA officials in Washington, D.C., released the Moon in Google Earth.

"Forty years ago, two human beings walked on the moon," said Moon in Google Earth product manager Michael Weiss-Malik.

"It's now possible for anyone to follow in their footsteps. We're giving hundreds of millions of people around the world unprecedented access to an interactive 3D presentation of the Apollo missions."

Moon in Google Earth combines "Street View" panoramic snapshots and NASA film taken on the moon to generate a moonscape.

Apollo program astronauts Jack Schmitt and Aldrin recorded commentary for online moon tours.

"This tool will make it easier for millions of people to learn about space, our moon and some of the most significant and dazzling discoveries humanity has accomplished together," said Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer.

"I believe that this educational tool is a critical step into the future, a way to both develop the dreams of young people globally, and inspire new audacious goals."

In addition to tours of the surface of the moon, the feature also displays "human artifacts" remaining from other space missions.

"We're excited to be a part of this latest chapter in Google's efforts to bring virtual exploration of the moon to anyone with a computer," said NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden.

"With Google Earth, young explorers around the world can bounce around the galaxy in Sky, fly to Mars and now visit the moon from wherever they may be," Ansari said. "Outer space doesn't seem so far away anymore."


On the Net: