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Project Apollo Beta 7.0 released!
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| | | |-+  More realistic landing sites? Using LRO GIS to 3ds mesh
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Author Topic: More realistic landing sites? Using LRO GIS to 3ds mesh  (Read 9916 times)
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« on: March 04, 2010, 12:33:29 PM »

The recent Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was able to bring back the highest known publicly available moon resolution data and hosted it graciously at the USGS website. It is a topology model of the large area around the Apollo 15 landing site - about 450 km on a side, and there is  a 10 meter/post version from Apollo Panoramic Camera images, and a 50  meter/post version from Apollo Metric Camera images. You can download them yourself at :  I used the 1.9 GB files labeled ‘Hadley Rille Panoramic Stereo Model.'

For this particular file the topology data for the moon is of the Hadley Rille area. (encompassing the Apollo 15 landing site) Next I used OpenEV (uses GDAL, built into FWtools) with the following console command to convert the hadley_met_dem_equi.asc ascii (GIS-compatible formats) in the 'Apollo_15_Hadley_Jan_2007\Apollo_15_Hadley_Jan_2007\GIS_images\DEM\MET\hadley_met_dem_equi.asc' folder to a GeoTiff (tif) DEM (Digital Elevation Model) file :

'gdal_translate -of Gtiff hadley_met_dem_equi.asc hadley_met_dem_equi.asc.tif'

Then I had to import the resultant hadley_met_dem_equi.asc.tif into 3DEM using the "GeoTiff DEM" file type and re-export it as a binary (.bin) Terrain Matrix file.

With that done it is simply a matter of opening up 3d application that can import the now readily accessible model. I prefer to use 3ds max with GroundWiz plug-in with can import binary and DEM files.

Here is a crude (rough) rendering of the results so far. I haven't textured or lighted anything yet but will do so in the future to make the lunar landscape look more realistic.

I have no idea how OrbiterSim SDK works
It is it possible to export .3ds files to the OrbiterSim game and make hi resolution landing sites for all the Apollo missions?
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 04:59:18 PM »

Wow, constellation, that is an amazing result from the LRO data so far! Thumbs Up

Well, once you have the mesh in 3dsMax, it's not too difficult to export it to Orbiter's *.msh format and add it to your orbiter installation. There's a 3ds-to-msh export/import plug-in by Mindblast somewhere out on the www, which I use too.
I've been working with jtiberius on the Apollo 17 landing site, though we haven't finished it yet ( It hasn't been finished yet partly because back at that time there wasn't something like MeshLand, an add-on module by Artlav, which enables mesh collision detection and basically allows you to land and drive over planetary surface meshes. In the last version of MeshLand, some test did show pretty good results, however there was a problem with the vessels jumping up and down on the surface mesh while moving. I am not sure if Artlav has found the source of the problem yet.

One thing to keep in mind though is, if one would import your (literally) great mesh of Hadley-Rille to Orbiter, you would want to keep the polygons of the meshes at reasonable numbers. Orbiter (2006 P1)'s graphic engine tends to dislike high polycounts, resulting in low frames per second.

Still, that mesh looks very promising already.

My Project Apollo work in progress:
* New detailed Lunar Module Ascent stage with virtual cockpit (VC currently planned as eye candy only) 18 % done

My Project Apollo work to be continued:
* new Service Module SPS engine bell
* various Saturn V textures, exhaust textures
* SIM Bay for the SM

My long-term plans are to create a:
* New detailed Lunar Module descent stage (eventually models of all flown LM's)
* New F-1 engines for the S-1C stage showing the foil (batting) insulation
* New LUT and launch pad (if nobody else does it)
Project Apollo - NASSP
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 01:22:00 PM »

Great job with the mesh!  Thumbs Up
The converter to Orbiter's .msh format is here:

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