Animation Reaches for the Moon

Thursday 31 May 2018
Setting Sail for the Stars

Animation & Visual Effects students have been looking at the future of lunar exploration to produce films that will be screened at the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles.

Over the last year, in small teams, students have been working on a film brief set by engineer David Evans and Course Coordinator Derek Hayes to explore the possibility of returning to and colonising the moon. A big challenge has been to make the films scientifically accurate as well as inspiring and easily understandable for non-specialists.

Students have grappled with the concept of a base in the Moon's Shackleton Crater, which has never seen sunlight but has stores of lunar ice that can be transformed into water and breathable air, and have created robotic lunar rovers that can create 3D printed habitats using regolith (moon dust) based on NASA designs.

Derek explains: "A big part of the second year of the course is dedicated to live briefs from outside organisations, which give students a taste of working with a real client to a professional brief and deadline. This particular brief was something special, since it required students to grasp some interesting scientific concepts and translate them into inspiring and inspirational films that would satisfy both scientists and the general public. Of course, that is the business of animation; one day you might be researching Celtic attitudes to the horse and the next wondering what the astrophysicists are talking about when they mention the 'three body problem.'"

David Evans said: "I've worked with professional animators, guys at Nvidia and of course students, and I'd say your these Falmouth teams are among the best! They've dealt with a hugely complex scenario and performed exceptionally."

Howard Bloom, author of six books, co-founder of the Asian Space Technology Summit, and founder of America's Space Development Steering Committee, said: "Love the animation; it fits perfectly into a lunar rover program we're calling for. We, being the group I run - the Space Development Steering Committee."

Dave Dressler, ISDC Conference Manager, added: "The video looks and sounds excellent. I like the reflective, mirror-like characteristics of the robotic machinery, a superb contrast to the lunar landscape."

Watch the short for Setting Sail for the Stars over on Vimeo. The films will also be screened at the NASA conference later in the year.