Visual artists are in for a real treat with this new 3d Moon Map released by NASA. It will make it so much easier to build elaborate digital imagery of the Earth's satellite. Science visualizer Ernie Wright created the online CGI Moon Kit based on years of data collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO.
Originally, the tool was developed for Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center but is now being shared with 3D artists across the internet. According to Wright, this tool will bring LRO data to so many other artists who want to do the kind of things he does.
Show Don't Tell
Noah Petro, a Goddard scientist, fully understands the value of Wright's work and the social implications for connecting the LRO mission with the public. He believes Wright can tell the story and illustrate things that are difficult to communicate or explain concepts.
Petro knows that Wright has an influence on how people deliver this information without even knowing they're doing so.
Wright said creating and sharing the moon is the easy part, the challenge comes in setting the scene. Using 3D animation software is very much like filming live-action with lights, props, cameras, and sets. But, visualization is more like filming a documentary. You are delivering facts while creating a narrative.
“We’re putting the pictures back into context; we’re putting them back where they came from” – E. Wright
The robotic spacecraft, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, has been circling the moon for over 10 years, finding safe landing spots, locating potential resources, defining the environment, and showing new technologies.
One of the most important goals is accurately mapping the topography of the moon for the Artemis program. After collecting a certain amount of data, the spacecraft sends bytes of raw information to Earth for the LRO team to interpret.
Even though a lot of this data is available online, you should have a firm grip on the technology to really understand it. Visual animations can make data more enjoyable for those who do not have a technical science background.
The CGI Moon Kit is Free to Download by Clicking Here