Review: “Moon 3-D – The Lunar Surface Comes to Life”

Moon 3-D by Jim Bell, published in 2009 by Sterling Publishing, it weighs in at 148 pages. One edit error noted.

This book bills itself as bringing the Lunar surface to life, and boy is it not kidding. Through a variety of techniques the author presents a large number of 3-D anaglyphs relating to our Moon exploration of generations past and present. As I noted in this book’s filecard in the Lunar Library:

The craters – wow!

They just pop out at you, and your eyes start wandering across the view, trying to judge the relative elevations, looking for features of note, and generally just enjoying a more natural perspective on things.

The book facilitates this by building the blue-red 3-D glasses into the cover, so that the image will always be the correct distance from the glasses, and a convenient nose hole makes the process comfortable. A large number of 3-D images are presented throughout the book, accompanied by a lengthy text by the author


The first chapter looks at the Moon Lore associated with our Lunar companion, from ancient times to modern media, while the second looks at the Space Race, from Kennedy’s challenge, through the robotic probes that reconnoitered the Moon prior to Apollo’s arrival. The third chapter, Shoulders of Giants, takes an extensive look at the Apollo missions, visiting each one in turn and highlighting notable details. Next up is Old Moon, New Moon, which describes the aftermath of the Apollo program, the science being done, and follow-up missions that rounded out the 1970s.

The ‘Modern’ era of Moon exploration began with the Galileo fly-by of the Earth-Moon system, which offered a serendipitous opportunity to test out the instruments with a little Lunar science. In Back to the Moon, the author looks at the series of probes that started with Clementine, then Lunar Prospector, using the chapter to talk about some of the resources that have been identified, and finishing up with the latest round of spacecraft – SMART-1, Chang’e-1, Kaguya, Chandrayaan-1, and LRO. We end up considering the Future Moon, which chapter explores many of the considerations for moving forward and poses the question:

“Can we seize this moment to eventually become citizens of the entire solar system? Let’s find out!”


The next hundred or so pages are the photo galleries. While some 3-D images were scattered through the text, the Gallery goes hardcore, with the left page showing a smaller Lunar photo, two columns of descriptive text underneath, and on the facing page a 3-D image. Page after page after page. Craters and tools and rocks and machines and astronauts and more craters and oblique views and more craters and scientific instruments and even some ISS and Shuttle shots. Just mesmerizing stuff, and sure to keep the kids occupied for hours.

It finishes up with a bibliography and brief index.

At the Moon Day celebration here in Dallas, NSS of North Texas had a copy of this book as part of their Moon display, and time and again I heard the same response – Wow! Grown-ups, kids, it was all the same – Wow! I would like to note that Sterling Publishing was kind enough to donate two copies to our event to be given away as door prizes to a couple of very lucky individuals. Their support of our community was a part of the success of the event.


Alan Boyle over at the Cosmic Log recently featured a story recently entitled Space in 3-D that features links on where to procure/make a pair of 3-D glasses. If you’d like to check out some more Lunar anaglyphs, you can wander over to the National Air & Space Museum website where they have a number available for your viewing pleasure.

Not as many as in Moon 3-D, though. I counted 59, enough to keep you occupied for a while. Going on a family road trip? You might want to think about a copy for the back seat. At less than 50ร‚ยข per image it’s great value for the money.

I really can’t think of any reason to give this delightful book anything other than a Full Moon rating.

2 thoughts on “Review: “Moon 3-D – The Lunar Surface Comes to Life”

  1. I think it would be fun to get the feedback from people regarding nuclear propulsion! The performance benefits, and with modern technology the potential for radioactive contamination seems significantly reduced…

    I’m wondering how long politics and media terror will stay in the way?

  2. he Lunar Surface Comes to Life

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