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MOON - the most accurate lunar globe

MOON is the most accurate lunar globe, using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter topographic data combined with electronic and mechanical engineering alongside careful craftsmanship in mold making.

MOON is a project by Oscar Lhermitte with Kudu.

MOON is unlike traditional lunar globes that uses 2D photographs or illustrations of the Moon. 

1. it is a truly accurate 1/20 million replica of the Moon featuring all the craters, elevation and ridges in accurate 3D.

2. it has a ring of LED lights that revolves around the globe, constantly illuminating the correct face of the moon and recreating the lunar phases as seen from Earth.

The combination of the 3D terrain with a light source is what makes it unique. By projecting the light onto the Moon, all the craters, ridges and elevations are brought into relief by their shadows. This recreates the lunar features as we see them from Earth.

For the first time, MOON allows you to see the side not visible from Earth ("dark side of the Moon" or "far side" to be scientifically correct).

Manual mode  - Rotate the sun light yourself and set the lunar phase that you would like to see.

Live mode - Experience the actual lunar phase happening at a given moment. Stay in this mode and observe the globe changing phases in rhythm with the actual Moon in the sky. One full rotation (Lunar synodic month) will take approximately 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.80 seconds.

Thanks to NASA, we have access to beautiful sets of space images but most importantly to incredibly accurate data. Modern technology such as 3D printing allows us to create intricate objects from raw data. Traditional lunar globes are still using flat images (photographs or illustrations) mounted onto a sphere and do not take full advantage of the data.

The data is available, the technology is there, so why not make a 21st century version of the lunar globe? 

The project started from a personal interest in the Moon and has now grown to an obsession in designing the most accurate and detailed lunar globe possible. 

MOON is the topographically accurate version of the Moon using some of the data gathered by the team of the Institute of Planetary Research (German Aerospace Center) working on the NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. On Kickstarter, we are offering the MOON with the Sun at the scale of 1/20 million (ø173mm, 6.8 inches) and a bigger lunar globe alone without the Sun at the scale of 1/11,5 million (ø300mm, 11.8 inches).

Both of them are highly accurate and their craters can be observed in their full glory. The ø300 mm lunar globe displays more details due to its size in relation with the resolution of the 3D printer.

 The North and South pole are slightly less accurate and this is due to the limitations of 3D printing. The mold is made out of two halves and this allows us to remove the cast without damaging it. There is therefore inevitably a very slight visible line at the junction of those two. We have decided to use it as a feature and have therefore placed it precisely through longitude 90ºE and 90ºW which distinguishes the Near side (visible from Earth) from the Far side (not visible from Earth).

In order to create the lunar globe, Oscar contacted the team at the Institute of Planetary Research and they very kindly gave him access to a piece of their huge database. The data used are DTM (Digital Terrain Model) and are constructed from stereo images. Countless hours have been spent working on the file in order to achieve the correct scale of terrain, make it spherical and compatible for a 3D print.

One full Moon was 3D printed in order to become the MOON's master (the one the molds are then made from). After several tests with different 3D printers, materials and techniques, an industrial SLS nylon printer was used with a layer thickness of 100 microns. Oscar took a job with professional mold makers to learn the craft of making the perfect cast.

The globes are rotocasted from hard polyurethane resin in a custom machine that we built ourselves. Each of them are carefully pigmented in order to get a moon-like colour.

The LED light ring moves around the globe, displaying the exact lunar phase of the real Moon and Sun.

In order to achieve the accuracy needed to track the sun’s movement over long periods of time Alex and Peter designed, built and coded a custom MOON computer. Its real-time clock and gearing system make sure it is perfectly in sync with the actual Moon and Sun’s positions. It has a simple analogue button interface which makes it a pleasure to operate.

They specified the MOON computer to have the same 64 KB memory capacity power capacity as the computer that took Apollo 11 to the Moon in 1969!

After many lighting experiments a ring light was chosen with the exact same diameter as the MOON object - this best replicated the sun’s light in space.

We put a lot of time and care into designing all parts of MOON, paying attention to every detail.

The arm is CNC machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and the base is cut from thick steel with a black powder coated finish. All graphics are screen printed.

Join our MOON team and get great rewards from the mission patch to the MOON with the SUN and even the lunar globe! All MOONs will be individually numbered and come with a certificate of authenticity. 

This project has been 4 years in the making. So much time, research, effort and expense has been put into it. This is a 100% self initiated project and we are planning to keep it this way. 

Right now, we have only 1 fully finished and working prototype and we are on Kickstarter in order to produce the first batch of 50. By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you will contribute towards making the most accurate lunar globe, and most of all you can get your own version of the MOON!

This is us! Our Mission Control Center is based in East London. Oscar has his own design studio and gets involved in lots of exciting projects ranging from industrial design and consulting to photography, art direction and curation. Peter and Alex are working under the name Kudu. They focus on technology led projects and specialised in the development of new electronic products.

Design is finished. Design for manufacture is finished. Electronic and mechanics are finished. We have obtained quotes for all the parts. All that is missing now are the funds to do the final tests and start the production of the first 50. Production will include: Build of 2nd rotocasting machine, creation of new molds, final test with MOON computer, production of all the necessary parts, Moon casting, parts assembly, additional rewards, packaging, etc.

We have looked at this closely and set a date we know is realistic for us. We are also offering the MOONs with different shipping dates in order to avoid disappointment. 

Below is the breakdown of our timeline:

Interested about the project and want to write about it? We'd love to answer all your questions. You can access the full press pack here and email us at this address: [email protected]

THANK YOU! It’s been a long journey and we appreciate all the support from our backers.

We've had many friends who have been involved one way or another and they all deserve to wear the team patch. A massive thank you to the Sidekick Creatives crew: Philipp Figueroa, Arne Zacher and Anisha Peplinski (+Yoav Reches, Tommaso Lanza and Molly Anderson even if they have not been involved at all). Frank Scholten and the rest of the team at the Institute of Planetary Research and German Aerospace Center for the amazing work they are doing, NASA for the LRO mission and being such a great source of inspiration, Stina Gromark for the best graphics ever (Logo, typeface, graphics on MOON and on rewards), Justas Medeisis for his amazing contribution to the MOON computer code, Hal Watts for being in the original team and then having to concentrate on "more important" things,  Flavien Berger for the dope soundtrack, Nicolas Jullien for the kick-ass website, Jonathan Rowley with Digits2widgets for being an early supporter, Arthur Lhermitte for the long chats, Phil Brown and everyone at Other People’s Sculpture, William A Adams for the tip, Molly- Simon-Emma-Antonia for the flat. Dominic Gordon, Daniel Charny, Gareth Owen Lloyd for the Machines Room, Nick Paget, Jon Marshall, Peter Cadogan, Marcus Hope.

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