3D Apollo!

By Phil Plait | April 13, 2010 4:00 pm

This is so cool: 3D anaglyphs of some of the Apollo landing sites as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter!

That’s the Apollo 14 site. Click to embiggen — and I urge you to do so. You can really see the lander popping right off the surface. In the Apollo 11 image you can even see that the lander feet are farther away from you than the top of the lander. It’s incredible!

These were done by Nathanial Burton-Bradford, and are part of a set of other 3D space anaglyphs. He took pairs of images taken by LRO (which is orbiting and taking phenomenal images of the Moon) and combined them to make the anaglyphs. They’re all worth perusing. I’m glad I have a set of red/green glasses! If you don’t have one, I again urge you to find ’em — they can be ordered online, usually pretty cheap.

Normally, I ignore Apollo Deniers, since obviously no amount of evidence will ever wrench them from their fantasy world of ridiculous, top-heavy, and fact-free conspiracy theories… but these images really do hammer home that those landers are sitting on the Moon.

Oh, what we humans can do when we decide to.

Related Posts:

LRO Spots Apollo 12 Footsteps

One Giant Leap Seen Again

Tip o’ the spacesuit helmet to Emily Lakdawalla.

MORE ABOUT: anaglyphs, Apollo, Apollo 14, LRO

Comments (25)

  1. James

    Is this the same guy who created anaglyphs from some of the Apollo pictures?

  2. LcNessie

    I just happen to have bought myself a couple of anaglyph shades recently. Really cool effect… The lander *does* indeed stick out…

  3. These photographs are incredible, especially the Apollo 11 one. What I find so cool are the footprints and pathways. If only there was something so inspirational going on now in space…. mind I’m not complaining about the Mars Rovers, MRO, Cassini, MSL etc…. it’s just we could really do with something to inspire the young. We need something to counteract the so-called ‘celebrities’…

  4. Is the vertical scale exaggerated? Especially on the Apollo 14 anaglyph, those craters at lower left look much deeper and more conical than I’d expect.

    Remarkably terrific in any case. Amazing what we can do.

  5. Bruce May


    Spreading the ‘word’ so to speak about our accomplishments and promoting science in general is important.

    Making everyone aware of such awesome images is important.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Michael Kingsford Gray

    “Awesome” is too lame a word for this photo!
    More, please sir.

  7. jcm

    Nice. If only I had a pair red/green glasses.

  8. Wayne on the plains

    I just saw that Obama is now talking about an “Orion-lite” and development of a new (non-Ares) heavy-lift vehicle. I’m not sure what to think of this yet. Is it a good compromise, or a “worst of both worlds” situation? I fear it’s a political reaction to the unpopular and poorly-handled cancellations, which isn’t usually the best way to make these kinds of decisions, but I’ll reserve judgment until his speech on Thursday at KSC.

  9. Messier Tidy Upper

    Superluminous, ie. beyond merely brilliant, anaglyphs there. :-)

    @5. Bruce May Says:

    Phil: Spreading the ‘word’ so to speak about our accomplishments and promoting science in general is important. Making everyone aware of such awesome images is important.
    Keep up the good work!

    Seconded by me & well said. :-)

    Personally, I consider human spaceflight – notably the Apollo landings as the most impressive, superb and greatest accomplishment of all human history.

  10. Jim T

    Damn, left my 3d shades … in the store.
    I liked the stereograph pictures, no extra equipment needed for them :)

  11. Michel

    O darn. Now you´ve made me order some 3d glasses!

  12. Hi Phil and all –

    “Is this the same guy who created anaglyphs from some of the Apollo pictures?” – Could possibly be 😉

    Firstly thank you Phil for considering my efforts worth writing about. All the images are there on the LROC site for anyone to explore.

    Secondly – an apology – Sorry. – I am acutely aware that anaglyph images require glasses, which places severe limits on who, and how, such images can be viewed. I’m lazy by nature in this respect – I have handfuls of Red/BlueGreen glasses easily at hand.

    Creating the initial versions of these images (which are wider expanses into which I cropped) had me shouting WOW!! at the laptop monitor, when I first saw just how ‘real’ the landers looked.
    There they stood, protruding above the Lunar surface, objects built by humanity – in 3D!!!… and to see them in situ; the landscape falling and climbing around them. Deep craters, steep hill, rolling valleys – I’m sure you get the picture… was something I had to share with others. I am so pleased other people like them :)

    Bear in mind also that these are REDUCED resolution formats!! I used the compressed .tiff files. If someone has the means to unpack the CDR files in order to create Hi Res versions I would so looooove to see those [you listening Emily 😉 ]

    Nathanial BB

  13. Pretty impressive for sound stage photos. 😛

  14. SplendidMonkey

    BTW – (Terrestrial) anaglyphs are easy to make with an ordinary digital camera, even a phone camera. Take a ‘right’ picture, move the camera a few inches left, take a ‘left’ picture. Use software like “anamaker” (free) to combine the images. Best for scenes that don’t move, and use a tripod or table. It’s easy to find cardboard 3d glasses online. Fun!

  15. Menyambal

    The Apollo 14 is now my wallpaper. Very impressive.

    My glasses are Hannah Montana giveaways I got at Walmart when the 3D movie came out. You could probably find a 3D movie like that with included glasses for sale.


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