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Take Flight Over Mars

It will be years, decades, before humans explore Mars. Until then, we'll just have to rely on robots and satellites. And talented 3D-animators.Doug Ellison took advantage of the thousands of images from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to create the animation above. Ray Vi...

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It will be years, decades, before humans explore Mars. Until then, we'll just have to rely on robots and satellites. And talented 3D-animators.



The HiRISE camera has produced thousands of images such as this one, of bedforms in a Martian crater (credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona )



Doug Ellison took advantage of the thousands of images from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to create the animation above. Ray Villard at Discovery News explains:

Ellison constructed the 3D terrain model from comparison of pairs of NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE views taken from slightly different points of view.  Advanced stereo-matching algorithms automatically combined features between the two images, and determined their relative elevations based upon how much they shift with the spacecraft's perspective offset between orbits. He has set up a YouTube channel called MARS3DdotCOM with other visualizations. (The HiRISE team is now releasing digital terrain models that they produce in-house, so that anybody with 3D rendering software and some skill can try creating this sort of animation.)


The video lacks any music, so you'll need to add your own soundtrack. How about Gustav Holst's Mars: Bringer of War from his series, The Planets? Any better suggestions?



( HT: Geeks Are Sexy)
About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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