Feeds

NASA releases moon return globo-projection movie

Can be played at home (with 4 HD projectors + 6 PCs)

New hybrid storage solutions

NASA has announced the imminent debut of a promotional film entitled Return to the Moon, made for the radical new "spherical film-making" projection system.

What, you didn't know about spherical movies? Neither did we, to be honest. In essence, the idea is to project the images not onto a flat screen but onto a large sphere hanging suspended in the auditorium.

This is obviously ideal for movies such as Return to the Moon, which largely consists of imagery from various NASA lunar missions. According to the space agency:

The results give the startling impression of the moon hanging magically in the center of darkened theaters. During the five-minute film, viewers will witness NASA's legacy of lunar exploration and come to understand the rationale for the Agency's ambitious plans to return to the moon, beginning with a robotic mission called the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO. Both LRO and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS mission are featured.

The LRO in particular will be looking to map the Moon very precisely, hoping to avoid bottom-puckering moments like that suffered by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969 when they found their lander's autopilot taking them down into a crater strewn with massive boulders. By the time they had manually manoeuvred to a clear area for landing, they had less than 30 seconds' fuel left.

Thus the LRO, hurtling less than 30 miles up from the lunar surface in a polar orbit which will cover the entire Moon, will make sure that the new generation of manned landers don't come down into any nasty surprises. Likewise, the orbiter will look for "permanently illuminated regions" at the lunar poles where the sun never sets - these might allow future moonbases to run on solar power rather than nuclear.

Meanwhile back on Earth, NASA believes that spherical movies are definitely the way to promote space travel. Previous NASA spherical blockbusters have included Footprints, "a conceptual framework about the human drive to explore".

"The subject is often difficult to relate to because the scale is so large or out of context with people's lives. However, when you project it on a sphere, people suddenly understand the size of regional events while also comprehending the global connections of the science being introduced," says NASA globomovie auteur Michael Starobin. "Pure data falls flat, but spherical films make planets approachable."

"Just as NASA prides itself at pushing back the boundaries of exploration, we take pride in inventing new ways to communicate," he adds.

Return to the Moon opens across America this weekend. A partial list of globo-projection-equipped theatres can be seen here. For UK readers, the nearest one is probably in Strasbourg. However, all you need to build your own sphere-movie setup is five Core 2 Duo PCs or better, four HD projectors, plenty of room and a massive six-foot beachball or similar: detailed hardware specs here. You can download the software and the US government's entire stock of globomovies for free here.

Now that's a home cinema project. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.