The US Army is building a second version of Earth on computer to help it prepare for conflicts around the world.
The detailed simulation will be drawn from a real-world terrain database and will be drawn to the same scale as the original.
The software Earth is being created for the US Army by gaming company There, which is currently working on a virtual world for gamers.
The first version of the virtual planet should be finished by September.
The ambitious project aims to help the US Army plan future conflicts which are unlikely to involve set-piece battles and instead be smaller in scale.
Details of the project were revealed by Robert Gehorsam, a senior vice president at There, during a lengthy interview posted on the Homelan Fed gaming website.
Mr Gehorsam said the world being created will not be a game but instead will be a "massively multi-user persistent environment" that will model real world physics as closely as possible.
Douglas Adams would be so proud...