Google Earth launches 3D moon module

The moon has been added to Google Earth.

The moon has been added to Google Earth.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google announced Monday that it is launching a new 3D atlas of the moon for the 5.0 version of its free "virtual globe" software.

The add-on, released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, includes "new and more exhaustive data" of the moon's geography than Google had previously made available online, the company said in an email.

The Moon in Google Earth includes:

  • "Guided tours" by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt.
  • Images, including high-resolution panoramic images — taken from satellites and spacecraft Historic moon maps.
  • 3D models of spacecraft and human artifacts left behind on the moon.

Google began making maps of the moon available in 2007 and had a collection of 2D images, along with material such as historical photographs, on the Google Moon website.

It first released Google Earth 5.0 in February. At the time, its new features included the ability to explore Mars in 3D as well as the Earth's oceans. The Mars module also includes a guided tour and historical maps.