The moon may be 238,900 miles away from Earth, but with a new lunar model and accompanying AR app, it might as well be in the palm of your hand.
AstroReality, a Bay Area-based startup whose co-founder is an astrophotographer, is creating hand-painted, 3D-printed moon models to bring the moon’s surface down to Earth.
With a free AR app from your phone, you can hone in on famous landmarks, like the Apollo landing site or the Mare Marginis plain, dead volcanoes, craters, seas, and lava flows. As you spin the moon on its stand, more facts, photos, and other locations pop up on the app.
“The moon comes to life,” AstroReality head of marketing and lead producer Joanne Dai said while demonstrating how the model and app work.
The app tracks the model in real-time, similar to how Snapchat’s filters track your face so you can vomit rainbows and wear a flower crown. There are 900 landmarks scattered throughout the model, complete with facts and trivia.
Dai wants space enthusiasts and home astronomers who are accustomed to looking at the moon through a telescope to use the model to get even closer to the moon’s surface. She also wants the model to be used as an educational tool — especially as more features come to the app, like simulated missions.
The online crowdfunding campaigns kicks off Tuesday (that link will go live then) with packages for the Lunar Pro starting at $179 for early backers. A mini lunar model and a full outer space collection are also available as perks. The 3D model is expected to be delivered by the end of November — just in time for the holidays for any moon-obsessed people you know. First, the startup is aiming to raise $50,000 to produce the moon models.