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Exploring the Sky, Moon and Mars with Google Earth

Updated on November 29, 2012

If you're old enough, at least a baby boomer, then perhaps you remember when we landed on the moon in 1969. I can't say that I remember it, but I remember being aware of it during that time, if that makes sense. I was six years old and the moon really didn't hold much interest for me. I do remember my daddy buying a thin photo book full of the photos of the moon landing, in fact, I have that book tucked away in a box in a closet somewhere.

The skies above central Texas allow for a lot of star-gazing. My daddy would point out various constellations, although I rarely remembered where they were, or what they were called, by the next time we sat out looking at the stars. Lying in the bed of a pickup truck on a blanket or sitting out on the porch always made for good conversation while watching for falling stars.

Interestingly enough, central Texas experienced a meteor in 2009. It was a Sunday, February 19th and I detected a loud rumble. I live near the train tracks so I first suspected a train or a perhaps even a low flying helicopter. The intensity of the rumble grew causing my daughter and I to go to the front door to look out. It no longer sounded like a train. By the time we reached the front door, we were experiencing what I can only describe as the "air shaking". I've never experienced an earthquake, nor do I wish to, but I can imagine the similarity, except the land wasn't shaking, everything else was. Very difficult to describe. Then it stopped. We later learned that it was a meteor. Needless to say, we had plenty of out-of-state visitors in the area offering to pay top dollar for pieces found on land in the area. Some locals made some decent money off the event according to local newspaper accounts.

Google Earth has released some new features that I thought you might enjoy on the subject of the moon, the sky and even Mars.

Moon in Google Earth

Moon in Google Earth was developed by joint effort of NASA Ames Research and JAXA. The official Google Earth Blog indicates that Moon in Google Earth was just released July 20, 2009 at the Newseum in Washington D.C. for the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon.

With Moon in Google Earth you can

  • Take tours of landing sites, narrated by Apollo astronauts
  • View 3D models of landed spacecraft
  • Zoom into 360-degree photos to see astronauts' footprints
  • Watch rare TV footage of the Apollo missions

Google Mars

There are three types of data found in Google Mars. They are: elevation, visible and infrared. You can learn more about the images on the JMARS data distribution page. You can learn more about Mars in general at NASA Mars Missions home page.

Google Sky

Watch the video with first American female astronaut in space, Sally Ride as she and a Google staffer Greg demonstrate how Google Sky works on Google Earth.

The Moon 2009
The Moon 2009


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    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      LOL...thanks for stopping by Jon!

    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 8 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi KCC - great hub! I found the other planets feature a few months ago and was knocked out by it.The spacecraft map is interesting -although the only UK contribution is a crash site!!! The Beagle has landed...well crashed, actually.Try the flight simulator too, though not just after lunch. Cheers, Jon

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks, samironwebtrack!

    • samironwebtrack profile image

      samironwebtrack 8 years ago

      fantastic video....

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      What an awesome set of memories mtd717! You're someone who has lived it a lot "closer" than many of us. Bet you have tons of stories with your dad working at the space center. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment!

    • profile image

      mtd717 8 years ago

      I was in Rocledge Fla. Ten years old when I watched in amazement on our zenith black and white tv Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land and walk on the moon. It was really cool. My dad worked at the space center and we got to visit and even watch many of the launches from my home. The Saturn Five was a beast! You could feel the earth rumble and the windows shake on our home when it was launched..It was an awsome experience one i'll never forget!

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Very cool, Maggs! Must have been a strange sensation to think about it that way. Thanks for sharing!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      My husband and I had just returned from two years in Singapore and we were staying at my parents home until we took up our new posting. It was around 3am in the morning when we walked out side and looked up at the moon in wonder and awe I said to my husband 'Just think they are walking about on that as we speak'