We have plenty of globes of our blue marble, what about our satellite? MOON is a Kickstarter project designed to be the most accurate lunar replica on the market.
It combines data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with the latest in engineering technology to create a topographically accurate 1/20 million replica of the moon. The craters, ridges and various elevations are all displayed in amazing 3D.
How about a smart lunar globe? We live in the 21st century. A simple model isn’t enough. The team at MOON have mounted the replica on a stand that has an attached LED ring. Every lunar phase is recreated as we would see it from the ground.
The lighting base has three modes. Manual lets you rotate the ‘sun’ light around the phase you want to see. Demo mode allows you to show off the lunar globe’s complete synodic month in 30 seconds.
Live mode moves the LED ring in real-time in relation to the phases of the moon.
Did you know: A synodic lunar month, the average period of the Moon’s revolution with respect to Earth and the Sun, has a long-term average duration of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.80 seconds.
Two models are being offered via the campaign. The 1/20 million includes the LED ‘sun’ and a 1/11.5 million globe without the LED ring. Thanks to more space to work with, the larger model is more detailed. Though both thoroughly represent the craters and other topographical features of our moon.
The team constructed a custom computer to keep the LED accurate and embedded into the stand. It keeps a real-time record of the actual moon and sun position and helps drive the three distinct modes in the base.
A nice touch is the 64KB of onboard storage. It’s the same memory capacity on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. And we complain about 16GB iPhones. All about perspective.
The MOON project is making sure prospective buyers know about the slight seam in the 3D construction. It makes the North and South pole slightly less accurate, but the team used the limitation of manufacturing to better display the visible (from Earth) and the far side (not visible from Earth) parts of the moon.
Below are the dimensions for sun and the moon model:
- Overall dimensions: 370mm X 330mm X180mm (14.5in X 13in X 7in)
- Globe: ø 173mm (6.8 inches) – 1/20 million scale
- Weight: 1.8kg (3.15lbs)
- Arm length: 260mm
- Table surface needed for 360º rotation: 550mm X 550mm (21.6in X 21.6in)
- Material: Polyurethane resin, CNC machined and anodized aluminium, powder coated steel, electronic board
- Power: 100-240V 50/60 Hz, 5V adaptor supplied
Closing in on its funding goal of $35,589 ( the project is UK-based), the campaign has plenty of room to exceed its target with 28 days left. Pricing for a Lunar globe starts at $427 (1/20 million model). Get the moon and the sun for $712.
The bigger lunar globe (1/11.5 million) has a pledge tier of $641, and you can get a combination of the smaller lunar globe and sun with the bigger model for $1,352. Ship dates range from September to November 2016.
It is one of the more expensive Kickstarter campaigns, but if you’re an astronomy buff, it’s cool as hell. I’d say get one for your kids, but let’s be real. We all want one for ourselves.