Google has launched a new application that allows people to take an internet tour of the moon.

In time for the 40th anniversary of the first lunar adventure, the company has released the programme Moon in Google Earth, which offers users the opportunity to take tours of landing sites and provides astral imagery as well as narrations by Apollo astronauts.

The first female private space explorer, Anousheh Ansari, was invited by Google to blog about its new programme.

"I believe that this educational tool is a critical step into the future," she said.

As well as Moon in Google Earth, the search engine is also running the Google Lunar X Prize, which takes users on a virtual tour of the moon’s surface, guided by second generation astronaut Richard Garriot

The initiative is one in a long chain of schemes thought up by the company to promote its own search engine marketing while connecting with users, including Google Maps, Google Health, Google Voice and Google Friend Connect.

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