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Touring Mount Rushmore's famous faces goes virtual

Mount Rushmore National Memoria via AP

In this May, 2010 photo provided by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, crews use lasers to scan Mount Rushmore monument, in western South Dakota. Crews scanned the monument and other features of the memorial to document and preserve the structure as well as create an online portal allowing users to visit the park virtually.

This is cool technology; I just hope young people won't be disappointed by the real thing.

AP reports: SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Virtual visitors to Mount Rushmore can now explore even more remote areas of the memorial than some who see it in person.

Three-dimensional laser technology scans that captured every nook of the four presidential faces and other features of the monument last year mean that starting Tuesday, visitors will be able to take in-depth tours online of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in western South Dakota.

The portal, comprised of models of the monument, allows people remote access to the site to plan a visit or explore unusual areas, said Maureen McGee-Ballinger, the memorial's director of interpretation and education. The monument draws about 3 million in-person visitors a year.

Cosmic Log: Monuments immortalized ... virtually (May 25, 2010)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial via AP

This undated photo provided by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial shows the memorial in western South Dakota. Starting Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, visitors can take in-depth tours online of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial using three-dimensional laser technology.