Meet MOON – the first topographically accurate lunar globe project

Meet MOON – the first topographically accurate lunar globe project

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 .
  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).

It’s an interesting case study of a crowdfunded hardware project, not least because the Moon team made the unusual choice to keep everything local: from the resin casting of the moon itself to the chassis and electronics.

“At the time we wanted to make sure that we made them correctly, and that we didn’t spend a lot of our energy and money prototyping with a factory,” du Preez said. “We’ve seen a lot of Kickstarter campaigns go straight to China, to some manufacturing facility, and we were afraid we’d lose a lot of the quality of the product if we did that.”

The chief benefit, in addition to the good feeling they got by sourcing everything from no farther than the next town over, was the ability to talk directly to these people and explain or through problems in person.

The decision to do it all in the U.K. wasn’t made any easier by the fact that it was a demanding piece of hardware, the team’s standards were high and. despite being a great success, $200,000 or so still isn’t a lot with which to build a unique, high-precision electronic device from scratch.

The whole operation was run out of a small apartment in , and the team had to improvise quite a bit. “We had this tiny little room the size of a kitchen we were producing these things out of,” du Preez recalled. “It wasn’t like a warehouse. And we were on the second floor — we’d get a delivery of like, a ton of metal, and we’d have to spend half a day hauling it up, then boxes would arrive and it would fill up the whole studio.”

“It’s really important to understand your pricing, who’s going to manufacture it, all the way down to shipping. If you have no game plan for after Kickstarter you’re going to be in a tricky situation,” he said. “We had a bill of materials and priced everything out before we went to Kickstarter. And you need some kind of proof of concept to show that the product works. There are so many great hardware development platforms out there that I think that’s quite easy to do now.”

Their attention to detail and obvious pride in their work has resulted in a lasting business. The company has attracted attention from Adam , Mark Hamill and MOMA, while a second run of 250 has just completed and the team is looking into other projects along these lines.

You can track the team’s projects or order your own unit (though you may wish you’d gotten the early bird discount) over at the dedicated Moon website.



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