Google Moon At Your Fingertips

Released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, Google Earth now gives us Google Moon.

Google has updated its Google Earth 5.0 with a map of the moon that allows users to explore craters, historic sites, and human artifacts. You can even view the moon in the style of Google Street View, checking out astronauts as they wander the moon’s surface.

Once the program is open, look for the icon with the ringed planet on the top toolbar, and select “Moon” from the drop-down list.

In 2005 NASA and Google agreed to collaborate on a variety of fronts. “Imagine having a wide selection of images from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at the time.

The feature is more than just a few photos of a lifeless gray sphere. Aldrin and Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt give virtual guided tours, and there are rover concepts to view along with previously unreleased video footage, historic maps, human artifacts (try finding the American flag, perhaps?), and “street view”-style panoramic photos. The base map of the atlas itself is comprised of a lunar terrain data set by Kaguya LALT.