Just in time to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, Google has just enabled a model of the moon in Google Earth. Moon in Google Earth features a 3D model of the moon with both current and historic images, panoramic, street view-like photos, and models of numerous lunar landers, as well as guided tours with videos (one narrated by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin). Google unveiled this new layer at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. today. Any user of Google Earth 5.0 can now roam around the moon without the need to update the program. Just click on the planet button in the top toolbar and select 'Moon.'

It's worth noting that Google Moon already offered a Google Maps-like experience since 2005, but the 3D-view and the higher degree of interactivity (especially thanks to the embedded videos from Spacecraft Films) makes Google Earth a far better vehicle for these images.

After Mars, the moon is the second planet in Google Earth's repertoire, and it shows how extensible the software really is. Just a few months ago, Google also unveiled the Ocean layer in Google Earth, which gives users access to an area that we probably know even less about than Mars and the moon.