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Google Earth event hints at moon mapping

An event scheduled for July 20--the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing--could mean the addition of new moon imagery to Google Earth.

One of the images returned by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter--coming soon to Google Earth? NASA

At least the residents of the moon are unlikely to be annoyed by the Google Street View car.

Google announced plans Thursday to hold a press conference on July 20 in Washington, D.C., to discuss "a very special announcement about the newest addition to Google Earth," according to an invitation sent to reporters. Further details were not included, but it's not too hard to guess what Google might be up to here.

July 20 is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. One of the men who set foot on the moon that day, Buzz Aldrin, will speak at the event, as will Andrew Chaikin, author of "A Man on the Moon." And NASA's launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in June has yielded all kinds of new detailed images of the moon's surface.

Google already offers a limited overhead view of the moon that highlights the sites of the Apollo landings, but it seems more detailed maps could be in the works as part of the ongoing partnership between Google and NASA. All kidding aside, Street View for the moon is probably not on the agenda, although those lunar rovers are still up there.