The Smithsonian, Autodesk use 3d scanning to create apollo 11

climb aboard on a spaceship, all thanks to 3d scanning technology

It was “one small step for man” and “a giant step for mankind”, but for the Smithsonian Institute, it is going to take a bit of  3D scanning. So, move over Buzz Aldrin, we are all going to get a chance to climb aboard the Apollo 11 and get a feel for what it must have been like to sit in the first spacecraft to the moon. For years, the Apollo 11 has been locked up in a glass case in the National Air and Space Museum for viewing only, but now it is going to be made a bit more accessible with 3D scanning services. 

The machine that allowed Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong to make that amazing trip off our planet to touch foot on the moon is going to be made accessible because of 3D laser scanning services. People used to have to travel all across the country to get to see it in D.C. And when they got there, they didn’t even get to climb inside for a good close-up. Now people have a chance to climb inside and experience the feel for themselves. How are they going to do that, you ask?  The Smithsonian Institute is combining forces with Autodesk. They are working on 3D scanning that spacecraft. After that, they will  assemble the data to create a 3D virtual copy of the craft that can be explored by anyone. 

This idea is going to take one of our country’s historical treasures and make it available to anyone with an internet connection. Instead of just looking at the outside of the craft, people are going to be able to take a virtual look at the inside of it, also. I am guessing that adults and children alike are going to enjoy this, and what a great way to learn about history for younger kids, too. No more boring books to explain history, just hop inside and take a look for yourself.            

video: "scanning the apollo 11 Command module at smithsonian"

 The project, though, was not without its challenges. The cabin is small, and so getting inside to reach all those small corners and components was not easy.  For proper scans you need to hit surfaces at good angles and have proper lighting, which is not so simple in a small areas like the Apollo 11.  Although the project was worth it, it was by no means an easy task. 

 I can’t imagine what it would have been like to blast up into space and walk on the moon. But the fact that 3D laser scanning services can recreate the craft that brought them up and back into virtual reality, is going to enable us to appreciate that moment in history even more. And it gets me wondering if there might not be some other items of culture or history that could be recreated as a 3D models. They too could be put on the internet for us all to enjoy, like the pyramids or the great wall.  If nothing else, it would save us a load of money on place tickets. 

Keep reading: more articles about 3D scanning

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