The Smthsonian’s 3D Digitization Program has been working to digitize the Apollo 11 Command Module “Columbia” that is currently on display at the National Air and Space museum.
“Columbia” was the living quarters for the three-person crew during most of the first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969. Scanning this module in 3D is a highly complex challenge that does not lend itself to any single 3D capture technology. Without touching the artifact, and certainly without getting inside, we are trying to document nearly every surface at the highest possible quality. For this we have enlisted the help of the Autodesk Reality Capture team. Creating terabytes of data using laser scanners, photogrammetry and structured light is one thing, but compositing this data into a single model is the larger task. Despite the enormity of this undertaking, it gives Autodesk an opportunity to grapple with a data-set that won’t be so uncommon in the future. As a result the Smithsonian gets to offer the public what will be one of the most compelling 3D visualizations of an artifact ever created. The 3D model of Columbia will be available on the 3D Program’s website 3d.si.edu in summer 2016. Users will be able to interact with it, download the model and print it with a 3D printer. The interactive model will also be featured in an upcoming exhibition on the lunar missions opening in 2020.