While NASA released some detailed lunar data late last year, no one had used this data to create a map in true 3-D, something that only Apollo’s astronauts have enjoyed in real life until now.
The map was created by Jeffrey Ambroziak, who recently launched a Kickstarter project to fund a full-resolution, two-sided 3-D Moon map. The project has already got 56 backers, and is about halfway there to the $5,000 goal.
Traditional 3-D images create an illusion of depth by tricking your brain into merging two slightly different images, which is used by red-blue anaglyphs that superpose separate images. This is what’s used in 3-D movies. For this to work, viewers must look at the images from a specific distance and angle. If you peer at them from the sides, the illusion is destroyed.
Ambroziak had developed an algorithm to give 3-D maps a broader perspective, which works by altering the brightness of pixels, stretching or compressing them, based on where they’re supposed to be relative to a predetermined perspective. His patent dates from 1999 and at that time, there wasn’t enough data to make a map of the Moon.
NASA’s latest Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera data was used to create the new map, which allows for 3-D viewing from nearly any angle or distance. Ambroziak’s Moon map, along with his maps of Antarctica and Mars, has been on display at the Underline art gallery in Manhattan. Even the U.S. military has mentioned an interest.
For now, his map only covers 8% of the Moon’s surface, but if his project gets funded on Kickstarter, he’ll start working on the remaining 92%.