Google has announced a new version of Google Moon, which has been available for a while doesn’t get as much attention as other Google properties. This new version has a variety of updates, including high-resolution imagery, photos from every Apollo landing, panoramas of the moon’s surface, and text search (of course!) Google Moon’s at http://www.google.com/moon/ .
The first thing you’ll notice at the site is a series of little astronaut icons with flags. These are sites for Apollo landings. You can click on them to get summaries and pointers to more zoomed-in views and information on the missions. (Go to the Apollo 11 mission and click on placemark 10 for a panorama view. Awesome!)
And there is a text search as well. A search for crater found over 1800 results. Results are listed in text on the left and mapped on the right. Note that it appears that explanatory text from the missions is being mapped as well as feature names. You’ll also get varying amounts of results depending on how far you’re zoomed in/out. Zoom all the way out for max results. (And for some fun results, search for joke.)
There is a lot to see here but apparently Google is not satisfied and wants more. The company is offering a $20 million first prize to the team that can “successfully land a privately funded craft on the lunar surface and survive long enough to complete the mission goals of roaming about the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending a defined data package, called a “Mooncast”, back to Earth.” (The quote is from the Web site for the competition, http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/ .)
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