As Earth’s Moon gently passes across the night sky, Earth bound planners try to make it a more immediate part of our future. NASAs two recent lunar orbiters will bring us wonderful new information but there are still lots of benefit that we can derive from the earlier Apollo missions. Jim Bell’s book “Moon 3-D, The Lunar Surface Comes to Life” is one that can provide just that and still appeal to a large audience. And, everyone may just come away with a big, happy, knowing smile on their face.
As the title boldly states, this book has three dimensional images within its covers! The technology is simple. Red is for the left eye and blue-green is for the right. Thus, the reader can simply hold the specially designed cover up to their face, look toward the full page pictures and a sense of three dimensions leaps out. Though the ‘special design’ may sound exotic, it is simply three well placed holes; the top left for the left eye, the top right for the right eye and a very handy lower centre hole for the nose. This works amazingly well, even while wearing glasses.
So, with the simple yet effective technology, what about the pictures? Well nearly all are of the lunar surface. There are craters, ridges, and rilles to show off the wonderful vista. And, sometimes the scenery includes astronauts, landers and equipment. Aside from being in chronological order, there’s no real sense of meaning or understanding. Each is superb, at least for the Moon buff, but it’s apparent that the pictures were originally meant for scientific study. Hence, while the author has chosen ones with great appeal, the reader will likely get an impression that they’ve reviewing the results of a small scale geological survey.
Of course with the special cover being fixed to the book, only half the pages have 3-D images. Opposite pages have a normal picture that relates to the 3-D image. A couple of paragraphs of explanatory text complete the presentation. The only exception is for the first forty or so pages that contain brief essays recalling the Apollo missions and one on current endeavours.
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Now you can blame campy cinematic movies but 3-D usually equates to feelings of silly and fun times. Sticking your face into the cover of a book while looking at the pictures in the book is kind of silly but it is also fun. Not surprisingly, this is the first book that I’ve had youths ask to borrow from me. They were attracted by the silly, fun, odd presentation. They laughed about the way the depth appeared from nowhere. They were intrigued and they stayed with it, at least for awhile. So, if you want to include a bit of silly, fun in your home library or beguile youngsters into space sciences, this is the book for you.
Having probes from Europe, Japan and the United States recently or currently visiting the Moon builds our anticipation. Sometimes it helps to put the whole surface into perspective and Jim Bell enables this through his book “Moon 3-D The Lunar Surface Comes to Life“. Though looking through a book’s cover may seem somewhat silly, it certainly puts the Moon into wonderful view.