Digital side of the Moon landing

By Amy Middleton 21 July 2009
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The landing’s recent anniversary has brought the Moon to us, thanks to the digital age 40 years on.

Imagine if you could have built an exact replica model of the Moon from your space-themed Lego set – and rotated it to have a look – and you’ll have some idea of the visual you’ll get with Google Earth’s new moon tool.

To celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the moon landing, Google added a ‘land on the Moon’ tool to their highly celebrated Google Earth programming.

The Moon side of things was revealed at a launch in the US, where astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Andrew Chaiken and Anousheh Ansari were among speakers promoting the commemorative tool. The room was reportedly decked out with lunar rocks and satellite images, in what could be described as a congratulatory reminder of America’s continuing advancements in technology, from space exploration through to the digital age.

Google’s ‘land on the moon’ tool

The point is a virtual 3D rendition of the moon’s environment, based on real stills taken during the lunar landing (and following expeditions). So you can see the original photographs, and then pan out to the Lego-esque simulation for a 360 degree view.

The virtual space contains cool lunar video footage, some previously unreleased by NASA, that effectively offers a tour of the Moon’s surface and environment, just as easily as we employ street view to check out unfamiliar neighbourhoods, or stare idly at our own houses.

There’s an amazing collection of information in this program, and space nuts will be thrilled that it’s all collated in an interactive, dynamic application that happily eats away work hours.

It certainly seems apt that 40 years after the first Moon landing, the digital age allows us to retrace that “small step for man” – and it’s all powered by the largest web-based organisation on our little planet.

Download the Moon from Google HERE and tell us what you think!