Augmented Reality Provides an In-Depth Look at the Moon's Surface

Friday, 18 August 2017 - 5:24PM
Virtual Reality
Moon
Friday, 18 August 2017 - 5:24PM
Augmented Reality Provides an In-Depth Look at the Moon's Surface
YouTube
While progress is definitely being made, we're still disappointingly far from the point where anyone can take a quick trip to the moon in order to look around and drink in the local (lack of) atmosphere. Those looking to get closer to the moon who aren't part of a big commercial endeavor, for now at least, have to settle for an alternative method of discovery.

In comes a company called AstroReality with a novel idea for helping lunar enthusiasts to get a better understanding of our moon's geography. Just as many people own globes that show the locations of countries and land masses on Earth, this company is selling 3D-printed topographical models of our largest satellite, complete with accurately placed lunar craters and valleys. They're not cheap, but if you already have access to a 3D printer, you're free to print your own moon as well.

This would be a fun thing to own in and of itself, but AstroReality has gone one step further. Through an app that can be downloaded to the owner's phone, each lunar globe can be registered with a QR code to unlock an augmented reality experience that brings the moon to life, showing off interesting landmarks such as noteworthy craters and Apollo landing sites.



The device allows interaction as well - tapping the screen as it hovers over any part of the moon, the user can cause different information to be displayed, so if you're interested in a particular peak or trough upon the model's surface, you can see whether there's anything worthwhile to know about that specific location.

AstroReality's database isn't fully comprehensive yet, but the company is looking to build it up over the coming months and years to give users an even more complete learning experience as they cradle the moon in their hands and pretend to be Gru from Despicable Me.

AstroReality is likely hoping these will be good gift ideas for budding astronomers this coming holiday season, as the moon models go on sale in November, ranging between $69 and $219 each, depending on how large the buyer wants their moon to be. There's also a nice discount for anyone buying ten, just in case you feel like helping a local school to stock up on an excellent teaching resource.

The company's been at this for a while, and has big plans for the future. A miniature map of the entire solar system is already available (with similar augmented reality functionality), while a Martian alternative to the moon model should on the way in the near future.

Sure, these miniatures aren't quite as exciting as actually visiting the surface of the moon, but until that's a possibility for more people, an augmented reality visit is as good an alternative as we're likely to get in the near future.
Science
Technology
Virtual Reality
Moon
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