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NASA Space The Internet

View the Moon in 3D on Your Desktop 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the explore-from-your-seat dept.
TheBeansprout writes "You can now view the moon in 3D With NASA World Wind with two sets of Clementine data and full placenames. "We have just digested the best of the images, so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (20 meters) of resolution" says Patrick Hogan, World Wind project manager at NASA Ames. "This is a first. No one has ever explored our moon in the 3-D interactive environment that World Wind creates," he adds. Download World Wind and view the quick tutorial or tour to interact, and there's some moon screenshots available too. A linux version of World Wind is slated for early 2006."
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View the Moon in 3D on Your Desktop

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  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Muppski (918156) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:01AM (#13939745)
    Now I dont even have to move to the window to see the moon
  • In the mean time... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf (2428)

    ...while we wait for Linux version, is anyone working on getting this stuff to Celestia [sourceforge.net]? Would rock if the two programs could easily use the same data though.

    The screenshots seem nice, but regrettably not really too much more impressive than what you can already do with Celestia. =(

    • by Bungopolis (763083) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:22AM (#13939789)
      Celestia is a "universe" explorer, and it's very good at its job. WorldWind is a "world" explorer, and it's very good at its job.

      WorldWind has two primary advantages over Celestia for exploring the Moon:

      * Streamed imagery - data is downloaded as you view, which makes it possible to support extremely high resolution and detailed data that, if downloaded all at once (as would have to be the case with Celestia), would span hundreds of gigabytes.

      * Topographic projection - WorldWind supports topographic data for both the Earth and the Moon. This means that if you can see craters and mountains in 3D, which is what really sets it apart from viewing a flat image. Even viewing a flat image projected onto a simple sphere (as in Celestia) is not much more enlightening than viewing a flat photograph of the sphere itself.
      • ...which is what really sets it apart from viewing a flat image. Even viewing a flat image projected onto a simple sphere (as in Celestia) is not much more enlightening than viewing a flat photograph of the sphere itself.

        That's what bump mapping and parallax mapping are for.
      • I think it would be cool if the functionality of the two was merged. Just imagine have finished looking at our solar system, being able to come back to Earth and zoom into your house :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You want the moon on a bloody stick?! :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This helps much. Now Aibo the robot dog can bark at the moon without exposing himself to the dangerously dirty and humid environment outside. Saves on the repair bill tremendously.
  • by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:14AM (#13939775)
    Mandatory Wikipedia link [wikipedia.org].
  • by bvdbos (724595) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:14AM (#13939776)
    Of course they couldn't stay behind after Google released Google Moon [google.com] but this looks way more promising...
    Let me just say: Cool!!! (-9F, 451R, -23C, 250K on the average that is...)
  • I guess this means we still won't be able to see the landing sites in enough detail? Maybe someone with more knowledge can explain why we can't provide a higher resolution for these images if we can see celestial objects millions of light years away...
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:27AM (#13939812)
      I'd say it's mainly because the instruments used to take the images have a 20m resolution. When there's a camera which can take pictures of the landing sites from earth, there will be pictures of the landing sites from earth. Not before.
      • Where Earth = lunar orbit, I mean. I'm somewhat decaffienated.
      • When there's a camera which can take pictures of the landing sites from earth, there will be pictures of the landing sites from earth. Not before.

        Given that the landers took pictures on the way down and the way up, you could probably put together higher-resolution data for the areas around the landing sites; it should be possible to patch these in to the existing datasets, so you could do such things as examine the landing sites from the 'air' and get decent results.

    • by spectrokid (660550) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:55AM (#13939872) Homepage
      they are not finished yet photoshopping the phoney lander in!
    • by NeoThermic (732100) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:29AM (#13939948) Homepage Journal
      >I guess this means we still won't be able to see the landing sites in enough detail?

      Correct. The largest object that is on the moon is the 14036kg SIVB from Apollo 15. Located at 1.51S 17.48W (or as a WWURI: worldwind://goto/world=Moon&lat=-1.51&lon=-17.48&a lt=13402 ), it isn't actually visible, possibly because that is its impact place, rather than a resting place (so it could well be smashed).

      The largest intact objects is the Lunar Rovers, and there's three of them ( Apollo 15's rover (worldwind://goto/world=Moon&lat=26.08&lon=3.66&al t=13402), Apollo 16's rover (worldwind://goto/world=Moon&lat=-8.97&lon=-15.51& alt=13402) and Apollo 17's rover (worldwind://goto/world=Moon&lat=20.17&lon=-30.77& alt=13402), however at about 2 meters in length, on a 20m/pixel basis they are a 10th of a pixel.

      So in short, if you're looking for 'evidence', you'll be waiting for higher-res images :)

      NeoThermic

      P.S. Sorry for the non-clickable URL's, but slashdot strips out the usefull characters, so WWURI's end up as: worldwind:gotoworldMoonlat-151lon-1748alt13402, which is useless

      • Small correction on myself. The offical design documentation lists the length of the rovers at 122 inches, which is 3 meters, so thats a 6th of a pixel at 20m/pixel; or still too small to see.

        NeoThermic
      • The largest intact objects left on the moon after the landings were not the LRVs but the descent stages for the LMs, one from each of the six successful landings. These are about 4 meters across. Other unintact items from the landings were the ascent stages of the LMs which were intentionally crashed into the moon to provide seismic data.

        http://aesp.nasa.okstate.edu/fieldguide/pages/aain dex/home1.html [okstate.edu] has impact point data for the ascent stages.
        • >The largest intact objects left on the moon after the landings were not the LRVs but the descent stages for the LMs

          Good point, but if they were visible, you would see them by looking where the rovers are (since all rovers were parked a few hundred meteres from the descent stages).

          I do find it intresting that the SIVB never left a large enough mark to make an impression on a 20m/pixel view, on the consideration that they weighed some 14,000 kg and (according to wikipedia) were 17.8m in length and a 6.6m
          • Perhaps it's because they were mostly empty space. After the LM was pulled from the SLA and the Apollo spacecraft was a safe distance away, the S-IVB was slowed by 115 FPS by dumping propellants through the engine, then all the tanks are vented to safe the stage. When it impacted it was just a lot of aluminum sheeting.
  • by kf6auf (719514) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:22AM (#13939791)
    According to the Wiki FAQ [worldwindcentral.com] anyone is encouraged to work on the port of the current version with some resources [worldwindcentral.com] they have made available and the next version (January 2006) should be cross-platform.
    • Quite correct. The thing with World Wind is that it's community-driven, so if people want ports then they need to step up and join in. In addition to your links there's also a forum section [nasa.gov] for ports and a how to get involved [worldwindcentral.com] page on the Wiki. We welcome all the help we can get - I came to WW from the Slashdotting 12 months ago, so let's see what this time can bring :)
  • It is indeed heartening to note that there is a plan to push out a Linux version, unlike Google which altogether seems to have forgotten the linux user.
    What is even sadder about Google is that it being a Linux shop, having derived so much benefit from the existence of Linux, refuses to actually return anything to the user community.
    • Nothing you say, taken from http://code.google.com/projects.html [google.com]

      * Google APIlity PHP Library for AdWords (google-apility)
      * google-coredumper (goog-coredumper)
      * google-perftools (goog-perftools)
      * google-goopy (goog-goopy)
      * google-sparsehash (goog-sparsehash)
      * google-mmaim (goog-mmaim)
      * google-sitemap_gen (go
      • If you notice my comment, you will find that I have mentioned linux user community, and not development tools. The growth of linux largely depends on its popularity/user base, which most of us here would like to see, expand. Linux has not, and will not gain wide acceptance if it is retained as a development/geek computing platform. Acceptance and popularity comes from the ready availability of tools and applications. I would have thought that Google, would be one company which would do that -- It has not.
    • ya I totally agree - how long was it till they released the google bar for linux.

      they should be releasing linux versions at the same time as windows if not before.

      with their help desktop linux could take off. when the common joe user sees all this new stuff and it works on linux too it would help ease their fears about linux.
    • If you do a Windows version you accomodate the vast majority of the desktops on the planet. It is pretty hard to justify increasing the workload very much to cover the remainder. Has anybody tried this application on Wine (http://www.winehq.com/ [winehq.com]) ?
    • Let's face it, Google is a web service provider. Regardless of how much Linux Google uses behind its doors, the vast majority of its users are using Windows. Like it or not, that's the bottom line.
    • Just downloaded the source code and noticed that it was written in C# of all languages. I suppose it wouldn't have been any better had it been written in Objective-C. Looks like if we want a true multi-platform version, then we need need to port it to a true multi-platform language, such as C/++ or Java (propriety, but has VMs on most platforms).

      It may just be easier to work out the architecture and just do a rewrite.
    • Quote is from the Google Earth support page (emphasis added by me): " Do you support Macintosh? At this time, Google Earth supports Windows only; however, we hope to support Mac and Linux OS soon. In the meantime, although it might be slower, some Mac users have had success running Google Earth with a PC emulator. "
  • by rednuhter (516649) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:23AM (#13939796) Homepage Journal
    the 22 CD ROMs from the Clementine project can be accessed from here

    http://starbase.jpl.nasa.gov/archive/clem1-l-h-5-d im-mosaic-v1.0/ [nasa.gov]
    (jpegs are in the browse directories)

    or if you have not the got the bandwidth they are only 220 USD from

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/cd-rom/web_store.cgi?ca tegory=hires [nasa.gov]

    now if only I could find a the above as a DVD torrent, hmmm
  • by Crouty (912387)
    "so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (20 meters) of resolution."
    I hope this is just press conference talk. Otherwise they should better not put metric in parenthesis but imperial measures. Just mod me flamebait not yet, there have rockets lost before because of this.
    • "...so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (66 feet) of resolution."

      That better?
  • by christophercook (21090) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:54AM (#13939869) Homepage
    According to the developer they are planning to create a Java version for linux as well as the C#/DirectX version they have now:
    http://mail.worldwindcentral.com/pipermail/worldwi nd-dev/2005-September/000736.html [worldwindcentral.com]

    This is nuts! Trying to make one big complicated from work is hard enough, making two versions of it written in different languages is inexplicable! The only real reason hinted at is that Microsoft wouldn't like NASA using Mono for an official application. Does Microsoft really want NASA to use Java just to spite Mono?

    Download the code for WorldWind and have a look, then consider porting it to Java/OpenGL/Java3D. Then consider just using Mono with OpenGL bindings. Or consider funding Wine so it supports .Net based apps (maybe not that far off? Wine DirectX already works for many modern games).

    Somebody talk some sense into them. Or tell me why I'm wrong, either way someone has to sort this out otherwise it's going to be a massive waste of time and money.

    I'm ranting, I know - can anyone else see how backward this is?
    • I'm left wondering why Microsoft has so much power over what NASA develops their applications in. Also, I would think that MS would be more concerned about a Java port than being able to run the C# app in Mono.
    • It might sound backwards, but WorldWind also uses .net stuff that Mono hasn't yet ported, so even if you tried to hack at WW to work with OpenGL, there'd still be outstanding items to fix in relation to the missing support from Mono.

      NeoThermic
      • I agree that porting stuff Mono doesn't have already would take time and effort, however that would likely take a few months to do (perhaps even several). On the other hand a java port that has to live alongside the C# version will be required to be maintained for the lifetime of WorldWind and will always need to be kept in sync with the C# version. Obviously if they make a wholesale move to Java then they need only work about the java version. I would argue that sounds a much bigger task than just getting
  • First? (Score:5, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:57AM (#13939877) Homepage Journal
    "This is a first. No one has ever explored our moon in the 3-D interactive environment that World Wind creates,"

    I think Neil Armstrong would have something to say about that.
  • ...is completely black! What a surprise! When you zoom in, there's nothing to see.

    Move along now, nothing to see.

    --
    silas
    hobbit
  • Pink Floyd (Score:3, Funny)

    by aktzin (882293) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:09AM (#13939905)
    "There is no dark side on the Moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark."
  • That's the real reason BillG named his O/S Windows! he knew some day we are gonna look at the screen and view the physical world, including the moon...
  • "... so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (20 meters) of resolution ..."

    "Lord Vader, is our conquest complete?"
    "The moon is to be delivered into our hands tonight, my Master"

    Odd choice of words there, but whatever. This is teh cool3st. Can't wait for the Linux version!
  • and there's some moon screenshots available too

    So much for actually looking out the window to see what the moon looks like!
  • Wheeee & WW2D (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheBeansprout (926731)

    A goatse image on the Road Map page within 30minutes of the Slashdotting. You're getting slow dudes :p

    I didn't mention in the article, but there is a partial clone of World Wind for Linux done by a community member.See the thread here [nasa.gov] for more info.

    People can also join #worldwind on irc.freenode.net. That's probably the best way to get involved with developing and find out what's where.

    And lastly...yes, Mars is on the way. Stay tuned.

  • by AEton (654737) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:23AM (#13939932)
    It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

    Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

    Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

    Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.
  • 20 METERS? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Da Fokka (94074) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:30AM (#13939951) Homepage
    For the last couple of months I have been checking obstinately if high-resolution data was finally available for my location - Utrecht, the Netherlands. But to no avail, I still have to manage with a measly 30m resolution. I can't quite see my house from up here!

    I understood the general reason for it - You start with the large cities and work down from there. There is little reason to provide hires data of the Sahara.

    But now we have been taken over by THE FRIGGIN' MOON! The data of that desolate celestial body is more accurate than the data of the Netherlands.
    • There is little reason to provide hires data of the Sahara.

      But now we have been taken over by THE FRIGGIN' MOON! The data of that desolate celestial body is more accurate than the data of the Netherlands.

      Sahara, Netherlands, both flat and featureless. What's the difference?

      ;-) just kidding. I like Oranje. :-)

    • Re:20 METERS? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fourtyfive (862341)
      Hey, I'm a WW Dev, I do mostly imaging stuff.
      Hate to break it to you, but the reason their is no imagery for your area is because of _Your Government!_ The US Government has released most of the imagery (non-classified) that it has for the whole country, and thus, we have it in World Wind. I believe New Zealand has also done such a thing. We also have some imagery from South Africa. Sine we're not google, we cant pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase the imagery from Digital Globe and the other
    • For the last couple of months I have been checking obstinately if high-resolution data was finally available for my location - Utrecht, the Netherlands. But to no avail, I still have to manage with a measly 30m resolution.

      Where do you get this imagery from? I will be visiting Netherlands and Utrecht and other locations next week (I am from the USA), because I may move there for a job.

      I've used google maps, but I'm guessing that's nowhere near as good as 30m.
      • Google Earth has ~30m resolution. I can see the larger roads, but nothing like the 1m data they have of Amsterdam and Rotterdam :(

        Have a lot of fun in Utrecht, it's a very nice city! Actually, if the data were better, you'd be able to see my house at lat=52.0964391273, lon=5.12191902758 :)
    • Re:20 METERS? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Idarubicin (579475)
      But now we have been taken over by THE FRIGGIN' MOON! The data of that desolate celestial body is more accurate than the data of the Netherlands.

      For what it's worth, the Moon has a surface area of a bit less than forty million square kilometers. The Earth has a surface area of more than five hundred million square kilometers. The Moon's a way easier job. If it makes you feel better, the resolution of the Netherlands (er, images thereof...) is proportionately quite a bit better than the Moon data.

      ...A

  • No Mac or GNU/Linux versions. it is based on DirectX and .Net :-S
  • I enjoy listening to Pink Floyd while exploring the moon.
    I have found that it is not made of cheese, it is made of pixels.
  • It's called "looking up" folks!
  • Interesting outliers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton@NOSpaM.yahoo.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:27AM (#13941008) Homepage Journal
    I'm always fascinated by tiny inconsistencies. For instance, in this [worldwindcentral.com] picture of the dark side of the moon, there are a few areas that haven't been photographed. The areas are in relatively consistent patterns, where the sattelite's camera may have malfunctioned or the orbit didn't cover certain areas. All except for one. Check out the top right, on the left side of a large crater. It's an outlier, all by itself, smack in the middle of an interesting formation. Wouldn't they have tried to get that spot again, on a second go around? Why is it missing? And why isn't it part of a patern like the others?
  • "This is a first. No one has ever explored our moon in the 3-D interactive environment that World Wind creates," Perhaps it is because in all previous versions that myself and others ran that World Wind crashed?
  • by payndz (589033) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:42AM (#13941167)
    Inignot: You and your third dimension.
    Frylock: What about it?
    Inignot: Oh, nothing, it's cute. We have five.
    Err: Th... thousand.
    Inignot: Yes, five thousand.
    Err: Don't question it.
    Frylock: Oh, yeah? Well, I only see two.
    Inignot: Well, that sounds like a personal problem.
  • That world wind is bloat ware... and that its 20 meters - too far away, I want to be able to see the flag :)
  • Great (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cro Magnon (467622) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:55PM (#13941932) Homepage Journal
    So, now we're getting mooned from our own computers? What will they show us next? Uranus?
  • Same idea-- global Mars Orbiter data (about 600 meter resolution, though)

    Launches from the browser in Linux (386) and windows

    http://www.antlersoft.com/demo3d/mars/index.html/ [antlersoft.com]

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