Scientific Colloquium
December 12, 2018, 3:30 p.m.
Building 3, Goett Auditorium

"CSI Apollo: Recreating the Iconic Earthrise Photograph" 

The famous Apollo 8 photograph known as Earthrise, as well as two others taken at about the same time, document the moment when the Earth was seen for the first time by human eyes over the horizon of another world. Until recently, space historians and the astronauts themselves disagreed about exactly how these photographs came about, including the identity of the photographer. Decades-old debates about Earthrise were finally settled by a visualization that used feature film computer graphics software, Apollo trajectory documents, and data from historical and current NASA spacecraft to accurately recreate the moment when the Earthrise photo was taken. As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8 approaches, this talk will describe both technical and personal aspects of the making of this visualization and the questions that it addressed.

About the Speaker:

Ernie Wright has been using computer graphics to visualize scientific data for over 25 years. His early work included isosurface cloud visualization for the Defense Nuclear Agency Weapon Effects Directorate and terrain visualization for the Central Intelligence Agency Office of Imagery Analysis. He was also a LightWave 3D senior programmer, leading LightWave's third-party developer community as the host of its Internet mailing list and the author of the LightWave Server Development Kit. Since 2008, he has been a programmer and animator at the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA Goddard, working primarily with the data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. He has a B.S. in computer and information science with a minor in communication from University of Maryland University College.

Return to Schedule