Google to Announce Major Addition to Google Earth on Apollo 11 Anniversary

kaguya_earth

In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, Google has scheduled a press conference in Washington, DC on July 20th to make a “very special announcement about the newest addition to Google Earth.”

The blogosphere is awash with speculation as to what the Internet search giant might announce. Most of it focuses on an upgraded Google Moon program with 3-D mapping, much as the company did for Google Earth.

Presumably, the improved program will include data from Japanese, Indian and Chinese spacecraft that have been recently orbiting the moon.  JAXA’s Kaguya (SELENE) orbiter returned high-definition video showing the lunar surface in unprecedented detail. The project’s manager, Professor Susumu Sasaki, will deliver a video message of support.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is also sponsoring the Google Lunar X Prize, which offers a $30 million award to the first private group to land a rover on the lunar surface. The Apollo 11 anniversary would be an excellent time to make any announcements concerning the competition. 

The speaker’s list includes:

Buzz Aldrin
Apollo 11 astronaut

Alan Eustace
Senior Vice President, Engineering and
Research, Google

Anousheh Ansari
First private female space explorer,
Trustee, X PRIZE Foundation

Andrew Chaikin
Author of A Man on the Moon

Senior NASA officials

There will be video messages of support from:

James Cameron
Film director and explorer

Professor Susumu Sasaki
JAXA SELENE project manager

The event will be held at:

Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

WHEN:
Monday, July 20, 2009

10:30 am – 11:30 am
Registration at 6th Street entrance
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Press event and presentation