Thom Worm Final Project

For my final project, I wanted to create something that synthesized my love of geology with 3D printing. One of my favorite labs in the Geology department is Dave Goodwin’s “Moon Lab” for his Historical Geology class. The lab focuses on using topographic relationships between craters and other features on the moon to deduce the history of lunar impacts. In short form, the lab looks at the differences between the lunar highlands – high elevation areas that are riddled with craters and the lunar maria which are flat, low-elevation zones with relatively few impacts. Because impactors from space should hit evenly on the moon’s surface, one must deduce that the lunar maria formed after the lunar highlands received most of their craters. Further examination of the maria leads to the conclusion that they are themselves enormous craters floored with a “sea” of rock melted by the impact. Thus the final conclusion is that the large impactors must have hit the moon (and other celestial bodies) long after most impacts in the solar system had already occurred -an event called the Late Heavy Bombardment.

To help future students better understand the relationship between topography and the impact history of the moon, I decided to print out several tiles of lunar topography highlighting the transition from the lunar highlands to the maria. The dataset I used came from the LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) in 2011. I first found grayscale images of lunar topograhy, increased the contrast of the images to provide better definition and then fed those images into Cura. Cura has a built-in utility that converts the white/black value of a pixel into a printable stl file that I used for my prints. The results are posted below.

I uploaded the .amf files created by cura onto thiniverse. They are not sketchfab compatible however and thus one cannot preview them on sketchfab.

Approximate area of print: Moonarea.jpg

photo 1photo 2


Thingiverse link for the files here:


This entry was posted by thomworm.

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