Design of the Week: One Small Step
This week’s selection is “One Small Step” by Whitney Potter.
Potter, a Thingiverse contributor and host of the 3D Printing Today podcast who also goes by the obviously cool pseudonym of “Shapespeare”, based his design on a previous version made by Thingiverse contributor taposk.
The design is clearly appropriate for this week, some 50 years after the real footprint was made. It’s a 3D representation of an actual foot print made on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. It’s a 3D model of one of the most famous photographs ever taken.
Contrary to popular belief, this image is NOT the “first footprint on the moon”. In fact it was “among the first”, and was taken by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. It’s believed that the footprint itself could have been made by Aldrin, not Neil Armstrong.
NASA explains the image:
“Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin Aldrin photographed this footprint in the lunar soil as part of an experiment to study the nature of lunar dust and the effects of pressure on the surface. The dust was found to compact easily under the weight of the astronauts leaving a shallow but clear impression of the boots, characteristic of a very fine, dry material. The footprint image has also become one of the enduring symbols of the first visit to the Moon. (Apollo 11, AS11-40-5878)”
First Footprints On The Moon
It seems the photo was taken for scientific reasons, but afterwards the image became iconic for sentimental reasons.
As for the very first footprint on the moon by Armstrong, it is most assuredly gone by now, having been obliterated by rocket exhaust when the two astronauts left the surface, or at least when Aldin stepped down onto the surface.
But while the actual footprint may be gone, you can reproduce your own version by 3D printing this model. As you might imagine, there were no 3D scanners on board Apollo 11, and so the 2D image from NASA is all we have. An initial version of the 3D model was created by “taposk” (Eloi Gattet), who used the image to guess the topography.
Lunar Bootprint 3D Model
This 3D model was enhanced by Potter, who explains:
“I took taposk's amazing http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:205379, solidified it and did a little sculpting to make the mesh look more like the photos. I couldn't resist adding my favorite NASA quote to the side.”
And what is that quote? It says: