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ATS CGI CHALLENGE: Simulation of the Lunar Rover in 1/6th gravity.

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posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 07:54 AM
I hear and read conflicting accounts of the behaviour of the Lunar Rover as witnessed in NASA videos zooming about on the 'lunar' surface.
Some say if it was being driven like that in 1/6th earths gravity it would bounce more, topple over or even take off after a small hump. others say its behaviour is what to be expected. I personally find its movements very similar to what would be expected on Earth.

I am sat happily on the fence as to wether man did go to the moon but I'm getting more and more convinced that NASA recreated the Lunar photos and/or the lunar videos on earth for various reasons.

This dispute (are the photos/ videos faked) seems to have no way of being proved conclusively one way or another due to the crappy quality of the videos.

So I was wondering if would be relatively easy for an expert in CGI, there must be some on here, to create a realistic simulation, using the correct weight and dimensions of the Rover, simulating the bumpy surface, applying 1/6th gravity... then 'zooming' it about (as seen in the videos) and see how the model behaves. I for one would be incredibly interested in the results.

I am a film-maker with expertise in composite vfx so cgi is out of my league, but i know that such a simulation wouldn't be too hard to set up. Is there anyone here that would be up to give it a go... or perhaps someone else (not NASA please) has already done an accurate simulation, and you could post a link to it please.

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 08:04 AM
I know which video you are referring to.
Just saw it again the other day.
I do not have any expertise in that
field, but I am with ya on wanting to see
a cgi model of the results.

will keep checking back on the thread
to see how it progresses

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 08:21 AM
This is also very interesting to my eyes... the speeded up Rover footage looks far more believable than the original speed. And it looks so like it could be on Earth.
I'm sure there are better clips... i'm in a rush and just wanted to post a video to illustrate the dynamics of the movements.

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 08:21 AM
reply to post by boondock-saint

Theres a game out there i believe .. think it's on steam that allows you to customise gravity etc, adding a car the same weight as the lunar lander wouldn't be too hard. Think it runs off the source engine. been too long since i used it to remember sorry.

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 08:26 AM
reply to post by manmental
You don't ask for much! Those requirements would be a challenge for Industrial Light & Magic to achieve...and at what cost?

The people who doubt the Apollo Missions will always doubt them...there isn't any evidence to persuade them otherwise. Flying their doubting asses to the landing sites would still be a case of, 'Yeah well, how do I know that these tracks were made back then and not last week? I'm gonna need more proof.'

edit on 1-6-2011 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 08:28 AM
reply to post by manmental

Do you have a linky to the video that you mentioned?
Also, if you have linky to the dimensions/stats of the rover, would be useful. Although I could probably find those myself.


Edit: I see you posted video above, thanks.
edit on 1-6-2011 by SatoriTheory because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 08:41 AM
reply to post by Kandinsky

You don't ask for much! Those requirements would be a challenge for Industrial Light & Magic to achieve...and at what cost?

Not at all. The most time consuming part of CGI is texturing... hair/skin etc. This is a relatively simple physics model. i know that much. We don't need textures, backgrounds or any photographic realism. I believe the right person could knock up a simulation relatively quickly... might be a great student project for anyone learning CG basics perhaps?

Would anyone know where the specifications might be: dimensions, weights, suspension? I heard a rumour that NASA lost the blueprints for the Rover... that can't be true can it?

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 09:01 AM
reply to post by manmental
Try here...

Lunar Rover Handbook

On top of the Rover specs, you'd need to take into account terrain and the consistency of the Lunar surface. The nature of the geology, particle behaviour and movement in 1/6th G and be aware that the Moon isn't a complete vacuum. A good place to start is p9 in this pdf... The Effects of Lunar Dust on EVA Systems During the Apollo Missions. Page 16 table is useful and page 23 details...

Page 3-34: After an initial acclimation period, the crew encountered no unexpected problems in moving
about on the surface. Traction appeared good, and no tendency for slipping or sliding was reported. Fine
surface material was kicked up readily and, together with the lunar dust that coated most contacting
objects, created difficult working conditions and housekeeping problems on board the spacecraft
(section 6)

Footprint depths were of the same order as in Apollo 11, that is, a centimeter or less in the immediate
vicinity of the lunar module and in the harder lunar surface material areas, and up to several centimeters
in the softer lunar surface material areas. The least penetration was observed on the sides of Surveyor
crater. Penetration of the lunar surface by various handtools and staffs was reported as relatively easy and
was apparently easier than reported for Apollo 11. The staff of the solar wind composition experiment
was readily pushed to a depth of approximately 11l centimeters and the flagpole approximately
17 centimeters. Trenches were dug to depths of 20 centimeters without difficulty, and the crew reported
that, except for limitations caused by the lengths of the tool handles (section 9), they could have
excavated to considerably greater depths without difficulty. Vertical sidewalls on these trenches would
cave in when disturbed at the top but would remain vertical if left untouched.
From above link.

The relevance of dust in the performance of the Rover is key to anything you seek to find in the simulation. As I pointed out earlier, those who doubt will continue to doubt which makes the venture pointless!

Dust on the lunar surface proved to be more problematic than anyone had anticipated. Gene Cernan in
the Apollo 17 Technical Debriefing remarked

“I think dust is probably one of our greatest inhibitors to a nominal operation on the Moon. I
think we can overcome other physiological or physical or mechanical problems except dust.”

All of the Apollo missions were adversely affected by the dust due to included visual obscuration,
false instrument readings, dust coating and contamination, loss of traction, clogging of mechanisms,
abrasion, thermal control problems, seal failures, and inhalation and irritation.

Simple dust mitigation measures were sufficient to mitigate some problems like loss of traction, but
for many such as thermal control problems, adhesion, and abrasion, it is clear that new technologies must
be developed. Some mitigation strategies, such as vibration have been tried and found lacking. Others,
such as brushing appeared to work much better in ground tests than they did in the lunar environment.
Clearly, an important area is the development of better simulation environments than were used in the
Apollo era. This may include the use of better simulants, higher vacuum, correlated simulations, and more
realistic thermal and illumination environments.

Finally, the pervasiveness of the dust and the problems it causes were summed up by Gene Cernan in
his Technical Debrief

“Dust - I think probably one of the most aggravating, restricting facets of lunar surface
exploration is the dust and its adherence to everything no matter what kind of material, whether it
be skin, suit material, metal, no matter what it be and it's restrictive friction-like action to
everything it gets on. For instance, the simple large tolerance mechanical devices on the Rover

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 09:29 AM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Thanks. Useful links for anyone willing to take up the challenge.

I have to say that although I'm sure the effects of dust caused all sorts of havoc with their equipment (allegedly) it doesn't seem to affect the Lunar Rover's speed or manouvrability in the various NASA videos of it in action.

It's not as if the Rover ever seems to go more than a fraction below the surface (as evidenced in close up photos), nor is it stuck deep in mud etc. the dust therefore offers little resistance to the momentum once the LM is off and running. watch the videos to observe this.

Therefore it wouldn't drastically affect the simulation.

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 09:49 AM
reply to post by manmental
The flow of dust from the Rover and terrain beneath are key to your impressions and doubts about its performance. Any simulation would need to be as close as possible to the conditions in the videos.

It isn't just a case of designing a look-alike and playing with the results. The Rover had a variable speed, weight differential, torque and suspension that dictated how it behaves under those specific conditions. How would you account for pitch or the bounce of suspension? Even the space between the camera and the object (Rover) changes our perception due to there being no air and no moisture....light behaves differently.

If you have a read through the links, there shouldn't be any doubts at all that we have been to the Moon and did a little rallying (maxed 12mph!) whilst there. If that content isn't enough and neither are the leaves us back at my first point...

People who doubt will always doubt.

posted on Jun, 1 2011 @ 09:23 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

I would still dispute that the flow of dust would not have a noticeable affect on the basics. The basics being, as I suggested, a simulation of a vehicle the same mass as the rover (same suspension too), on a bumpy texture at 6-12 mph ( i thought it had a max of 8mph?).

I appreciate that other factors are involved, but knowing the complexities of a simulation involving EVERY variable I wanted to concentrate on a more simple model for starters.

If this simple model with basic mass and gravity, displayed any serious discrepancies to the NASA videos then I would say lets begin factoring in other variables etc. to see if we can simulate the videos.

So, once again, I'm just talking about a basic simulation. The variables can come into play if we get a basic foundation to work from.

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