Google Earth adds images of moon landscape and Apollo landing sites

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Google wants to fly you to the moon.

The Internet search giant released a version of its 3D mapping program this morning on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing that includes a virtual tour of the lunar surface. The moon imagery joins the Mars and constellation maps that were already built into the free Google Earth software.

After mousing around the expansive landscape for a few minutes, we can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to spend any significant amount of time staring at gray rocks.


After returning from the first manned lunar landing in 1969, Apollo 11 pilot Buzz Aldrin called the moon a ‘magnificent desolation.’

‘No life, no motion, no air,’ Aldrin told recently. ‘It just wasn’t a very welcome place at all.’

Moon in Google Earth -- the name Google Moon was already taken by the previously-available, Web-based version -- packs a ton of information into the software.

On top of the moon surface imagery and digital renderings of NASA landing modules, Google shows panoramic photos, historic videos and loads of encyclopedic articles. There are also guided tours and landing site classification by country.

The new software offers probably the most complete educational tour of the moon for free. But how long will you really spend looking at pictures of gray rocks?

-- Mark Milian

View Milian’s video at