First topographically accurate lunar globe
Published on April 19, 2016
MOON is the most accurate lunar globe, using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter topographic data combined with electronic and mechanical engineering alongside careful craftsmanship in mold making. Product designer Oscar Lhermitte with design studio Kudu are releasing it on Kickstarter.
MOON is not like a traditional lunar globe using 2D photographs or illustrations of Earth’s satellite.
1. it is a truly accurate 1/20 million replica of the Moon featuring all the craters, bumps and ridges in accurate 3D.
2. it has a ring of LED lights revolving around the globe, constantly illuminating the correct face of the moon and recreating the lunar phases as seen from Earth.
The combination of the 3D terrain with a light source is what makes it unique. By projecting the light onto the Moon, all the craters, bumps and relief become visible with their shadows. This recreates the lunar features as you would see them from Earth.
Even more, MOON allows you to see the side not visible from Earth (“dark side of the Moon” or “far side” to be scientifically correct).
MOON is the topographically accurate version of the Moon using some of the data gathered by the team of the Institute of Planetary Research (German Aerospace Center) working on the NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. On Kickstarter, Oscar Lhermitte and Kudu are offering the MOON with the Sun at the scale of 1/20 million (ø173mm, 6.8 inches) and a bigger lunar globe alone without the Sun at the scale of 1/11,5 million (ø300mm, 11.8 inches).
Both of them are highly accurate and their craters can be observed in their full glory. The ø300 mm lunar globe displays more details due to its size in relation with the resolution of the 3D printer.
In order to create the lunar globe, Oscar contacted the team at the Institute of Planetary Research and they gave him access to some of their database. The data used are DTM (Digital Terrain Model) and are constructed from stereo images. Countless hours have been spent working on the file in order to achieve the correct scale of terrain, make it spherical and compatible for a 3D print.
One full Moon was 3D printed in order to become the MOON Master (the one the molds are then made from). After several tests with different 3D printers, materials and techniques, Oscar used an industrial SLS nylon printer, with a layer thickness of 100 micron. Oscar took a job with professional mold makers to learn everything needed to make the perfect cast. The globes are rotocasted from hard polyurethane resin. Each of them are carefully pigmented in order to get a moon-like colour.
The Moon is only magnificent when correctly lit by a light source. Kudu mimicked the Sun’s real-time path by building and coding a custom computer that precisely controls the motion of the light. Its real time clock and gearing system make sure it is perfectly in-sync with the actual position of the Moon and the Sun. The MOON computer has the same power capacity as the computer that took Apollo 11 to the Moon in 1969.
The team took a lot of time and care to design all the parts in every detail. The arm is CNC machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and the base is cut from thick steel with a powder coated finish. All graphics are screen printed.
This project has been 4 years in the making. So much time, research, effort and expense has been put in to it. Right now, they have one fully finished and working prototype and they are turning to Kickstarter in order to produce the first batch of 50. Support them on Kickstarter!