Moon in Google Earth – Reflections and Easter Eggs

I’m on my way back from Washington, DC after attending the launch of Moon in Google Earth. Last night, I was able to attend NASA’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 – which was held at the National Air & Space Museum. This was a big affair with hundreds of NASA employees and contractors, friends of NASA, and many astronauts including most of the Apollo astronauts. Google was there with a booth showing the new Moon in Google Earth. And, I got to see Neil Armstrong in person for the first time – he gave an inspiring speech. It has been great seeing all the enthusiasm in the last week in the media, on the Internet, and here in Washington for the Apollo missions. Especially for an old space enthusiast like myself.
Another great thing about yesterday was seeing all the enthusiasm on the part of the many Googlers who came here for the launch of Moon in Google Earth. It seemed most (if not all) of the team who worked on the project were able to be here. I saw over 20 Googlers at the event. They had obviously worked hard on the project – most on their 20% time. You could see how much they wanted the event to be a success. They were also eager for feedback on the GE moon and were quick to consider any ideas anyone suggested during the day. Obviously, there will be many more updates to moon in the future. The biggest updates will be in new imagery and terrain once the data gets back from the new Japanese and American missions. It’s a testament to the team that they were able to get so many NASA/space dignitaries to show up for the event. Watch a slideshow of photos I took during the two events:

View fullscreen

One thing I learned about yesterday – there are a couple of easter eggs in yesterday’s release. If you look closely, the icon for the “Gallery” layer is a piece of cheese. πŸ™‚
Moon cheese

And, if you play the Apollo 17 Tour to the point where Jack Schmidt talks about the Earth hanging over the moon – they placed the Earth in the Tour as a textured polygon. If you pause the Tour there. and fly yourself to the other side of the Earth polygon, you’ll see a funny moon cartoon:
Moon cartoon in Google Earth

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. The cartoon is from the film “Le voyage dans la lune” from 1902, based on the Jules Verne novel “From the earth to the moon”.

  2. Mythdraug says:

    That’s not just any moon cartoon. It is a cropped screen capture of the classic 1902 film “Le Voyage dans la Lune”, which is often considered the first science fiction film.

  3. Man in the Moon says:

    Actually that ‘funny moon carton’ is from a French silent movie from the year 1902 (!) called ‘Le voyage dans la lune’ (A Trip to the Moon).
    I only know that because there was a Moon special in TV yesterday and part of that special was the broadcast of that movie.

  4. The image of the moon with a rocket in its eye comes from the 1902 silent film “A Trip To The Moon” by the Melies brothers:

  5. psychlops says:

    That moon cartoon is from the poster for the first scifi movie, a silent from 1902 called Le Voyage Dans La Lune or A Trip to the Moon. More at
    I’ll to watch that tour πŸ™‚

  6. David Bryant says:

    The image on the other side of the Earth is actually from one of the very first science fiction movies, ‘Le voyage dans la lune,’ made by Georges MΓ©liΓ¨s in 1902 ( It’s based very loosely on Jules Verne’s ‘From The Earth To The Moon.’

  7. I am lucky that my birthday is the 11th anniversary of the landing. I’ve always been a moon fan and admired the guys that have been up to/near the surface but it wasn’t until reading through the Twitter feed of the Apollo 11 mission that I realised just how brave they were. Neil’s descriptions of stepping off the lander, the dust, and how his feet were making impressions in it, how it stuck to the suits, really made me think about how it was totally new, they had no idea what might happen, but they did it anyway. Now we just take it as granted that you can stand on the moon, bounce around, drive a robot on Mars, but back then….wow. I wish I was 20 years older to have seen that as it happened. Fingers crossed for a man on Mars πŸ™‚

  8. Also check out
    “Tour the Moon in Google Earth”
    It includes a Google Lunar X PRIZE tour.

  9. you know, if you add a placemark to the apollo 11 landing spot, then swap to earth and double click it under places, it’ll tell you it’s in africa πŸ˜›

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.