More on Moon in Google Earth

Ok, I’m still at the Newseum after the Google announcement of Moon in Google Earth today. Managed to find a quiet place with Internet, so here are some more things to share about the new toys.

Google put on a really slick media event here today. Having Buzz Aldrin, Andrew Chaiken, and Anousheh Ansari help promote the new Moon features was awesome. And the decorations for the event were really cool. They had carpet that showed satellite views of the lunar surface, and lunar rocks as props around the stage. There was a HUGE screen showing video feeds for the talks. Afterwards, Google had booths set up around the museum allowing people to see the new moon application with Googlers available to explain the features.

Google announcement of Moon in Google Earth at the Newseum
Photo by Mike Pegg

I’ve picked up some more information since the announcement about Moon in Google Earth, but first – here are some more screenshots:

Screenshots of Moon in Google Earth

Notes on Moon in Google Earth:

  • The 3d terrain is of limited resolution on the moon. I was surprised to find it is not very high resolution. I found out from some of the team who worked on it that there is surprisingly little data readily available. Things will improve as the recent missions from Japan and US start making data available. Google has processed some areas (like the Apollo landing sites) with better quality terrain data.
  • There are a few shots from the new Lunar Reconnaissance Observer (LRO) already available in GE. Look for the orange square placemarks to load them.
  • There are lots of Apollo mission YouTube videos available at each of the Apollo sites (look for the YouTube placemarks). The videos include the recently enhanced Apollo 11 videos everyone has been talking about. Most of the videos are available in HD format too – that doesn’t mean the resolution is improved necessarily though).
  • You can find 3D models of the Lunar Modules, Lunar Rovers, Surveyors, and many (if not all) the other landers on the moon.
  • In Google Maps, Google has changed put “peg man” today into a lunar space suit in honor of the announcement and the anniversary of Apollo 11.
  • I live “micro-blogged” the event today in Twitter on @gearthblog. As did Googler Mike Pegg on @googleearth.
  • The new moon database is also available in the Google Earth plugin. I hope to see apps created in the coming days having to do with the moon!
  • Discussed an idea of converting “Monster Milktruck” into a Lunar Rover and sticking it on the moon. It has the added plus that the way the rover would fly would look more realistic on the moon with its 1/6th Earth gravity. Anyone want to create that?

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.


  1. WOW!I really like this!It’s cooooooooool

  2. Earth has been conquered by Google. Now it’s time for the moon.

  3. I want a direct viewing telescope that will resolve the Lunar Lander on the Moon…. or is it there? Where can I get any photo of the Lander or Rover on the Moon AS TAKEN FROM THE EARTH????

  4. Nice, but please don’t try to use this as an opportunity to bundle other apps 🙁
    I don’t see it myself (probably as I already have Chrome), but disapprove of pushing it on people like this – bundling is not good, bundling which defaults to downloading additional stuff is *bad*, thankyou
    Sorry if this is an unofficial blog (i think it is) but the official one doesn’t seem to allow comments & this seems like the most relevant place to mention this

  5. I wish the Google Earth team would add a colorized terrain layer (ocean depth comprised) similar to the one of the Moon and Mars map to the Earth.
    It shows in one grasps the magnitude of the topography of a celestial body.
    More generally I think that on the Earth part more global maps layers could be implemented “by default”, like : colorized terrain as I’ve just said, relief terrain and maps already in Google Maps (there is a user generated layer using network link already doing this as you’ve mentioned before). Other wavelength imagery (infrared for instance)?!
    Anyway, the Moon is great!

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