NVIDIA Releases RTX Apollo 11 Video for Mission’s 50th Anniversary [Updated]
Demo First Shown During RTX Launch Now Available for Download
Update: Based on NVIDIA’s press release, we believed that the company was indeed releasing the actual RTX Apollo 11 demo. This now appears to be false, and today’s release is just a new video featuring the demo without a public release of the actual demo itself. We’ve asked NVIDIA for clarification.
NVIDIA is marking the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by releasing an enhanced version of the company’s moon-landing demo with support for RTX ray tracing. A video of the demo was first shown publicly last October during the launch of Turing-based RTX GPUs, but wasn’t made available for download until now.
Those with RTX-capable graphics cards can download the RTX Apollo 11 demo at NVIDIA’s website, while those without a compatible GPU can view the demo, along with commentary from astronaut Buzz Aldrin, via a YouTube video.
NVIDIA states that the addition of RTX real-time ray tracing lets users experience the truly “desolate, otherworldly landscape” that the Apollo 11 astronauts first encountered fifty years ago.
Now RTX real-time ray-tracing capabilities lets [NVIDIA's demo team] recreate how the sun’s rays, coming from behind the lander, bounced off the moon’s surface, how these rays interacted with the lunar lander to cast eerie lunar shadows, and even how the light bouncing from the lander and the moon’s surface interacted with the astronaut’s puffy space suits.
NVIDIA first released the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing demo in April 2015 for Maxwell-based graphics cards, claiming that it could help demonstrate the way that light and shadow worked on the lunar surface in an effort to counter conspiracy theories which argue that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax. The company states that the addition of real-time ray tracing further supports the original demo's conclusion that the lighting seen in the Apollo missions' photos and videos is consistent with actual lighting conditions on the surface of the moon.
The historic Apollo 11 mission launched from Kennedy Space Center at 8:32 a.m. EST on Wednesday, July 16, 1969. The Lunar Module landed on the surface of the moon at just before 3:18 p.m. on Sunday, July 20th, and Neil Armstrong took his first step on the surface later that day at just after 9:56 p.m. For those interested, the website Apollo 11 in Real-Time allows users to follow the mission as it progressed via actual flight and mission control audio recordings, images, and commentary.