Nvidia Creates Virtual Moon Landing [Video]


Nvidia has become the most recent property to recreate the moon landing, using their newest technology to bring the virtual event to life. The graphics processor company set out to show off the fidelity and veracity of their latest pair of graphics cards, and to show that the original moon landing was not a hoax. The recently released game from Bungie called Destiny also went about staging a moon landing, but through an intentionally different way. Conspiracies surrounding the original landing’s authenticity still run rampant over 40 years later, and look to survive longer even with this company’s convincing recreation.

The company brought their two most powerful graphics cards and a new illumination system to shed some light on the hoax accusations. The GeForce general manager for Nvidia, Scott Herkelman, acknowledged that “global illumination is the hardest task to solve” for any game company. He pointed out that there is a certain “labor-intensive” process that goes into creating shadows that move with the environment and characters on screen. Using the new lighting techniques through the GeForce GTX 970 and 980 graphics cards, a photo of the moon landing and simulation looked remarkably similar to the company, and gave them the idea to study the conspiracy, says Herkelman.

He then outright states that the company, with their new resources in place, will “debunk one of the biggest conspiracy theories in the world.” The system of lighting itself is called Volex Global Illumination, which can be tapped into currently only by the 970 and 980 cards. Using only a single light source – the sun in this case – the system allows for lighting to bounce and diffuse off of surfaces, even as new shadows and forms are added on screen. In an attempt to debunk specific parts of the conspiracy theories, the graphics card providers spoke directly to NASA officials, finding that both the moon’s surface, which acts as millions of mirrors, and lack of stars in the sky, due to the reflected light, were solved with this lighting system.

Nvidia was not the first property to go to the moon this month. In fact, millions of players in the game Destiny can land on the moon and fight against alien life forms as well. A few days before the title’s release, a commercial depicting a triplet of live-action Guardians landing on the moon hit televisions and the internet. This introduced some to the idea that Destiny would allow for free space travel and includ missions on the moon centuries after America’s successful Apollo 11 launch.

Nvidia wanted to take down the many, many conspiracy theories that point towards the moon landing as a hoax. Rumors began to spread in the weeks and months after the landing was televised in 1969 that revolved around the light, sky and mysterious wind as examples of how the event was fabricated by the government. Theories, some of which are still alive and well today, include Hollywood director Stanley Kubiak being called in to direct the entire landing in some secluded area, and the ruse existing just to halt the Russians from launching into space before the U.S.A. Nvidia, while not able to “prove a negative,” has cast their opinion in support of the landing thanks to their new capabilities.

By Myles Gann

Game Informer

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