Scholastic News
News
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
Mars
Space
Activities
Teachers

See All Special Reports
Take a Virtual Lunar Tour
By Gail Hennessey

Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Mt. St. Helens, Washington
(Photo: NASA Ames Research Center)
The moon isn't as far away as it seems in the sky. You can take a trip to the moon from your own living room thanks to a free software program from NASA called World Wind. All you need in order to access 1.8 million images of the moon's surface is a computer with an internet connection. World Wind lets viewers fly over the surface of the moon and explore its surface by zooming in on craters.

"Even NASA hasn't seen the moon like this before," said Patrick Hogan, Program Director of The World Wind Project Office at NASA. "Young people can go and become immersed in the moon and explore it virtually."

World Wind uses images from both the Hubble Space Telescope and the Clementine spacecraft, which orbited the moon for two months in 1994. You can download a "moon pack" that points out famous lunar landmarks, like where the American flag was placed by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins in 1969. During your exploration of the lunar surface, you may notice a few areas that seem incomplete. This is because there are still parts of the moon that have not yet been photographed.

You can also take virtual tours of famous places on Earth, like the Grand Canyon, the Sahara Desert, the Swiss Alps, and the Himalaya Mountains. Each day an estimated 10,000 people bring the world and moon to their fingertips through World Wind.

"I hope the 3-D program will inspire people to get out a pair of binoculars and go outside to see just how wonderful this world of ours really is," said Hogan.

Check it out at http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/.