NASA releases detailed 3D map of the Moon for CGI artists and creators

NASA releases detailed 3D map of the Moon for CGI artists and creators

NASA has
released a new set of depth data
for CGI
creators which basically includes a detailed 3D map of the

Called the CGI Moon
, the data has been shared by NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center. The kit is available for free and the renders
have a few different options. Apparently, science visualization
expert Ernie Wright found that CGI data he had assembled for other
research purposes was proving popular with 3D artists.

In order to capture the mentioned depth data, Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter’s (LRO) ⁠— a spacecraft that has been
orbiting the moon for over a decade ⁠— on-board high-quality
camera was used.

A 3D map of the moon. Image: NASA

A 3D map of the moon. Image: NASA

The LRO can apparently only capture a small portion at a time,
however, because it is constantly orbiting the moon, the camera
which is almost constantly taking pictures of the Lunar surface was
able to capture pretty much the entire visible area of the

However, the camera is only able to take pictures of different
part of the Lunar surface. In order to recreate the surface of the
Moon, a second instrument on LRO was used, which is called a laser


TechCrunch explains
, “The laser altimeter
works like any typical orbital laser ranger you have around the
house. It sends a pulsed laser towards the surface and tracks both
how long it takes to come back and how strong it is. These tell the
device how far away the surface is (and therefore its altitude)
down to half a meter, and what that surface is like, for instance,
a hard rocky structure or soft powdered regolith.”

If you are still wondering what this data would be of use to a
CGI creator, maybe your next PUBG map will be on the lunar
surface, maybe you land in a human colony on the Moon!


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