NASA lifts Google Moon

The space agency says it has added new lunar imagery to Google's Moon Web site.

This is just in time for all those teams considering building a robot lunar rover to win $20 million in the Google Lunar X Prize.

NASA said Tuesday that it has added new lunar imagery to Google's Moon Web site, a photographic display of the moon with information graphics about the Apollo landings.

The additions are part of an ongoing partnership between NASA and Google, which signed a Space Act agreement in December 2006 to work on Web projects together. NASA, for example, recently added photographs taken from the satellite sensor Landsat into Google Earth.

The updated moon site includes higher resolution lunar maps and additional content from the Apollo missions, including panoramic images, audio and video clips, and descriptions of the astronauts' activities, according to NASA. The site also features detailed charts of different regions of the moon "suitable for use by anyone simulating a lunar mission," the space agency said.

"NASA's objective is for Google Moon to become a more accurate and useful lunar mapping platform that will be a foundation for future web-based moon applications, much like the many applications that have been built on top of Google Maps," Chris Kemp, director of strategic business development at NASA's Ames Research Center, said in a statement.

Google and the nonprofit X Prize Foundation announced earlier this week that they will offer $20 million to the first team that can put a robotic rover on the moon that can travel 500 meters. (It is offering an additional $5 million for second place, and $5 million for bonus feats.)

 

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