Well, it's a 3d model, so you'll need a 3d program to do anything with it. Most 3d programs can open up 3ds files.....Blender, Wings3D, Anim8or, Art of Illusion. All of those programs I mentioned are free and have links to the respective sites elsewhere on the board. Wings3D is a modeler only, which means you can open up the files and modify the 3ds file, but you can't add textures and render it (to make it look real) for that you'll need a separate renderer like yafray, povray, et al. Don't ask me how to render in those programs as I use Bryce. However, I will be experimenting with some of those renderers so we can do some tutorials for the dome.
Blender, Anim8or, and Art of Illusion are all complete package programs (modeling, rendering, animating,etc.) with Blender being the most sophisticated of the group.