An early scene in Christopher Nolan’s space epic “Interstellar” — which launched into theaters last weekend — depicts a not-too-distant future in which mankind has abandoned space travel and rewritten history in favor of conspiracy theorists, many of whom have skepticized man’s greatest accomplishments since Apollo 11.
Such conspiracy theories are long overdue for a permanent debunking, and now American graphical hardware and software producer Nvidia is helping to do just that with the release of new software that proves astronaut Neil Armstrong’s one small step for man really was one giant leap for mankind.
Conspiracy theorists frequently cite several key observations in denying that the moon landing ever occurred, including odd angles of light and darkness, the lack of starlight in the background and one key photo of astronaut Buzz Aldrin descending Apollo 11’s lunar landing module, which shows the astronaut vividly illuminated instead of obscured in shadow as he should of been based on the position of the sun — all of which have led conspiracy theorists to allege the landing was shot in a film studio.
Using the company’s “global illumination” technology, Nvidia graphics experts have finally provided answers to all of the above by fully simulating the environment around Apollo 11’s lunar landing site, which revealed iridescent moon dust as the source of light illuminating Aldrin via reflection.
The technology was also able to identify Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit as the source of reflected light that appeared to be out of place in another photograph. Nvidia also explained the lack of stars in the photographs as a result of the camera’s exposure setting, which called for a slow f-stop to keep sunlight from wiping out the pictures.
Using Nvidia’s Maxwell graphics chip and the Unreal Engine 4 gaming software, VentureBeat reports users can pull up a rendering of the scene in real-time and toggle Armstrong to see how light is reflected off his spacesuit in the scene.