This project is solving the We Love Data challenge.

Data visualization is a core component of every scientific project; however, generation of physical models previously depended on expensive or labor-intensive molding, sculpting or laser sintering techniques. Physical models have the advantage of providing not only visual but also tactile modes of inspection, thereby allowing easier visual inspection as well as access to the visually challenged. Recent advances in 3D printing technology have created low cost systems capable of translating three dimensional shape and terrain elevation models into physical models. Low-cost commercially available 3D printers are capable of using data from topographical maps, RADAR data, altimetry and digital terrain models and turning them into accurate, handleable 3D models out of multiple materials in a matter of hours. The resultant models provide not only study materials for lunar and planetary terrains as well as small space bodies but also allow generating libraries of physical objects accessible to the visually handicapped. Moreover, these models create new tools for introducing space sciences to the roster of accessible science curricular materials.

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Project Information

License: Creative Commons BY 3.0


3D printed Mars globes with variable exaggeration -
3D printed lunar crater Tycho -
3D printed Martian moons and large asteroid Eros -