WebEarth builds a live VRML model of Earth as it is right now . Drawing from composite sattelite photos created by John Walker, WebEarth employs a set of server-side scripts which build the model and maintain the current image database. To load the model, click on the words "Current Earth Image" in the left-hand frame.

WebEarth requires a VRML 2.0 compatble plug-in, such as Parallel Graphics Cortona VRML Viewer, available for both Windows and Macintosh. If you're using Netscape Communicator or Microsoft's Internet Explorer , chances are you already have a VRML plug-in installed. If you're using LINUX, you might want to check out the openVRML browser, which has been tested with WebEarth.

Also available here: WebLuna, which creates a static image of the Moon from high-resolution NASA imagery; WebMars, which does the same thing for the red (and perhaps alive?) planet; WebVenus, which takes radar information from NASA's Magellan space probe to produce a false-color image of Venus' surface; and WebJupiter, which uses images gathered by the Cassini space probe to create an model of the great planet's cloud cover.

Thanks to Neal Stephenson for the inspiration, ART+COM for proving it could be done, and Lou Stern for asking me if it can update itself automatically. (It will, every 60 minutes.)

Mark