Rendering the Moon from AMC

Ames Stereo Pipeline is currently a candidate in the running for NASA’s Software of the Year award. We needed a pretty graphic and decided that making a cool and possibly realistic rendering of Moon would fit the bill. This is a little more difficult than simply hill shading because the Moon has a specular component to it. Hill shading can be interpreted as being only the diffuse component of the phong model. An interesting example of the Moon’s specular compoent is this picture taken with a Hasselblad during Apollo 17.

Below, are videos of my results where the Sun’s projected coordinates sweep from 90 W longitude to 90 E. Both these views are showing map projected imagery, thus this isn’t a true perspective shot. The difference between these videos is the input observer’s altitude above the surface. Lower altitude and more of the specular component can be seen.

I’m using nothing but Apollo Metric imagery for this example. The DEM source was our product for LMMP. The Albedo source was the Apollo Metric Albedo map that Dr. Ara Nefian produced and will eventually be in NASA’s PDS. The photometric model was the Lunar-Lambertian model as described by McEwen’s paper. Shadows were not rendered because that seemed harder than I could accomplish in 24 hours.