New NASA app sorta like Google Earth, but for the Moon

Snip from NASA's press release about "World Wind," a NASA-built app for zoomable, virtual 3-D wanderings around the moon.

The newly expanded NASA 'World Wind' computer program can transport Web users to almost anyplace on the moon, when they zoom in from a global view to closer pictures of our natural satellite taken by the Clementine spacecraft in the 1990s. Computer programmers at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley originally designed the World Wind program to deliver satellite images and data of Earth to the Internet. Users can see detailed 3-D pictures of the Earth's land surface, including its elevation and climate.

"We have just digested the best of the Clementine images, so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (20 meters) of resolution," said Patrick Hogan, manager of the World Wind Project Office at NASA Ames. "This is a first. No one has ever explored our moon in the 3-D interactive environment that World Wind creates," noted Hogan.

Link. Boing Boing reader Mike Ransom is digging it, and says of the pic above, "This is an image I captured of the central promontory in the Tycho crater."

Reader comment: Oliver Delgado says,

World Wind predates Google Earth as a free world-viewing application by almost a year. NASA just lacked the marketing power to make it as well known. To call it "sort of like Google Earth" seems to imply Google Earth had been created earlier.

It's probably also worthwhile to mention Celestia which is a 3D space simulator which is sort of a planetarium, except you're not confined to the surface of the earth. It's available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.