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NASA Attempts To Recreate The Moon For 3D Artists


TechInAfrica – For people with the creative professions, what NASA just released could be deemed as valuable resources. The new set of data includes an in-depth and detailed 3D map of the Moon. The CGI Moon Kit comes from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Science visualization expert Ernie Wright was working with the data when he found out it was popular among the 3D artists. The data themselves were generated from two instruments on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is an orbiting spacecraft close to the Moon over a decade, with the main job of extracting pictures and conducting measurements of it.


The data allowed us to see a virtual topographic globe, by overlaying the displacement map onto the photographic map and wrap it around a sphere. In the displacement map, changes of the data point are indicated with color, and not by height. The data is assembled into this displacement map or a topographic map. Real-time captures of the Moon is done with LRO, which snaps the entire visible area of the Moon, except for the shadowy regions, and the result is a high-quality map of the lunar surface.

Altimeter, which is part of what comprises LRO (the HQ traditional camera), works as a measuring device that transfers info about the surface’s distance and altitude down to a half meter, the surface’s characteristic. By sending the pulsed laser to the surface and calculating the required time to let the laser bounced back as well as the overall strength of the returning signal allow us to gain information of the Moon’s topology, and thus, being able to recreate the Moon’s surface.

Credit: Joeyjazz via

Learn more about CGI Moon Kit and feel to download all the assets here. Crediting NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio is all it takes to use the assets.



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