posted 12-18-2004 01:09 AM
Space Model Systems' terrain models are hand-cast and hand-painted representations of the planets and natural satellites in our solar system. The masters for these models, usually 8"x8" or 5"x5", are either hand-sculpted or produced by a computer process called rapid prototyping, utilizing data relayed from exploratory spacecraft such as Mars Global Surveyor.
SMS introduced two new terrains this week, both based on Galileo images captured of Jupiter's moons:
Tohil Mons on Io
Tohil Mons rises some 5.4 kilometers (18,000 feet) above the surface of Jupiter's moon Io. Images taken by the Galileo spacecraft from different angles, plus shadow information, allowed mission scientists to construct three-dimensional views of the terrain and calculate the height of the mountain. This has allowed planetary model maker David Angus to reproduce Tohil Mons as a sculpture for SMS Inc., offered for the first time anywhere.
Ice Fields on Europa
The original close-up view for this model of the icy surface of Europa, a moon of Jupiter, was obtained on December 20, 1996, by the Solid State Imaging system on board the Galileo spacecraft during its fourth orbit around Jupiter. The model covers an area about 11 kilometers by 11 kilometers (7 miles by 7 miles).
Each is available now for $64.95 + shipping. A Ganymede terrain is also coming soon.
[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited December 18, 2004).]