Google opens up the moon on Google Earth

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Google opens up the moon on Google Earth

Plug-in shows 3D animations, photos and video footage.

Forty years after man first set foot on ground outside of Earth Google is opening up the lunar surface using Google Earth.

The plug-in works with Google earth Version 5.0 and is the product of Google’s own mapping technology and work with Nasa’s lunar surveying team. It was unveiled today at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum in a special ceremony.

"Forty years ago, two human beings walked on the moon. Starting today, with Moon in Google Earth, it's now possible for anyone to follow in their footsteps, " said product manager Michael Weiss-Malik.

"We're giving hundreds of millions of people around the world unprecedented access to an interactive 3D presentation of the Apollo missions."

The plug-in has details of all man-made objects on the moon, videos of man exploring the surface and 3D animations of key areas, such as the Apollo 11 landing site. Because most of the images come from orbit however very little can be seen of the objects themselves because they are so small.

Anousheh Ansari, Trustee, X PRIZE Foundation, and first female private space explorer, wrote in the Google blog on the plug-in.

“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,” she said.

“Moon in Google Earth enables you to explore lunar imagery as well as informational content about the Apollo landing sites, panoramic images shot by the Apollo astronauts, narrated tours and much more. 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.”

The 40th anniversary has also sparked off other companies to try and cash in on the anniversary. An apparently real company issued a press release offering to etch adverts on the moon’s surface using remote controlled robots.

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