A very, very busy summer is drawing to a close, and we’ve been wrapping up some exciting projects at work. Our latest effort has been to prepare map data and educational content for a new version of Google Moon!
Although it lacks the cheese of the original version (which many people seem to miss), we’ve added a nice range of new features that should appeal to scientists and members of the public alike. Aside from the basic Visible and Elevation layers, you will find a collection of historical lunar Charts with a wealth of geological and topographic information. These charts should be useful to amateur astronomers, teachers, and even folks who might be planning their own private mission to the moon as part of the next X-Prize Competition. The charts are definitely handy, but the new Apollo layer is, without a doubt, the most exciting new addition. In this layer, you can zoom into each of the Apollo landing sites and take a tour that chronicles the story of that mission. There are fun anecdotes, images, movies, and even zoomable panoramas to explore. It’s an excellent way to become acquainted with what was learned during the Apollo program, both in terms of science and in terms of the operational challenges encountered by humans operating in the lunar environment. With NASA and other space agencies gearing up to return to the Moon at some point during the next decade, now is a good time to dust off that old knowledge so that we can start planning our next trip.