Fly Me To the Moon

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40 years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. set down on the surface of the moon (with Michael Collins waiting up top) achieving the dream of billions of humans who came before them. Neil was the shutterbug of the mission and took a number great pictures despite the brutal conditions (moon dust is like talcum powder, try getting that off your lens with your thickest gloves on.)

What happens when you take some of the best images from the Apollo program and feed them into Photosynth? That's what I wanted to find out. Here is a Photosynth from images taken off from the Apollo 17 Command Module's 28th Revolution around the moon. After it loads, hold the 'CTRL' key to see the point cloud, Photosynth has created a 3D model from the images. If you press the 'a' key you can see the arc of the orbit from the side. These images are very high res so use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

Now for Apollo 11. Before looking at these synths increase the Photosynth interface size ('f' key), you might want to put on some Major Tom or Dark Side of the Moon too. I spent hours looking at this synth after making it. It's an amazing way to explore man's greatest destination. I created some highlights to help you navigate around the really cool stuff. The first is a particularly synthy set of images. Next is the iconic footprint image, you can click on it to toggle to the before picture. Until I synthed these photos I didn't even know there was a picture of the surface where the first footprint would be. The next highlight is a view looking out of Eagle at the flag, and then Eagle from the outside. I highlighted an image that didn't map to any others that when zoomed in looks like a folded pair of sequined socks, no doubt part of the Moonwalker conspiracy theory.

I also made an Apollo 11 synth that is just 3D anaglyph images, you'll need some Red/Blue glasses. It's best viewed with grid view. Here are the 3D images from Apollo 12.

Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon, has the best pictures. By 17, mission planners have image stitching on the mind, there are hundreds of overlapping photos. For this synth I used 1022 images, a mixture of black and white and color. My machine crunched this synth all night long and by morning gave me this amazing collection.

Scroll down for a list of Photosynth keyboard shortcuts.

Apollo 11 Campsite

Apollo 12 Campsite

Apollo 17 Campsite

Apollo 11 3D Images

Apollo 12 3D Images

Apollo 17 - 28th Revolution


Photosynth Viewer Keyboard Shortcuts

Zooming and Neighbors
Scroll wheel Scrolling the mouse wheel zooms you in or out. The zooming is centered around your current mouse position.
+ or - Zoom in or out around the center of the window.
← or → Move left or right to a neighboring photo, when one is available.
↑ or ↓ Move inwards or outwards to a neighboring photo, when one is available.
u or j Move up or down to a neighboring photo, when one is available.
Tours and History
Spacebar Go to next photo in the spatial tour.
Shift-spacebar Go to next photo in alphabetical order by filename. (Depending on your camera, this is usually shooting order.)
. (period) Go to next photo in alphabetical order by filename. (Depending on your camera, this is usually shooting order.)
, (comma) Go to previous photo in alphabetical order by filename.
Z Go to the last image you were on. (Like Back in a Web browser.)
Z Undo z. (Like Forward in a Web browser.)
Fun with the Point Cloud
Ctrl Holding the control key down temporarily hides all photos allowing you to see the point cloud in all its glory. Dragging a halo with the control button down lets you spin around the entire point cloud. Try it!
P Switches among three modes: points, images, both.
Useful Shortcuts
Enter Center the current image
F Toggle full-screen
~ Toggle between 2D and 3D
M Go to the next 3D group in the synth
Y Toggles world-up verses image-up. This is useful when Photosynth has trouble working out which way is up.
Free Navigation (Only in 3D view)
A Strafe left
D Strafe right
W Move forward
S Move backward
E Move up
C Move down
L Rotate left
Rotate right
[ Rotate up
; Rotate down

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