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So you can explore Mars on your own

So you can explore Mars on your own

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from: Tanya Banner

Flying to Mars and exploring the Red Planet – difficult in reality – is now possible with a virtual mosaic of NASA images.

Pasadena – For many years, it was Mars A popular destination for space travel. Several NASA spacecraft have already explored the red planet or are still exploring it. In addition, many space probes are orbiting Mars to explore it from a bird’s eye view. Now ordinary people can also explore the Red Planet – through their computers.

a Interactive mosaic It shows the entire globe of the planet and allows you to virtually fly over its bumpy surface or navigate to a specific area with a single click of the mouse. For example, you can look at Mount Olympus – more than 22 kilometers high and almost 600 kilometers in diameter, it is the largest volcano and the highest mountain in the solar system. With a single click of the mouse, you can also “send” yourself to areas where active Mars is infested “curiousity” And “perseverance” research. But you can also visit and explore the areas where the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity have been active.

rocky planet
144,800,000 square kilometers
227.9 million km
687 days
Phobos and Deimos

Visit the largest volcano in the solar system with NASA images of Mars

A virtual visit to the Mariner Valleys (Valles Marineris), a rift valley system 4,000 kilometers long, up to 700 kilometers wide and up to 7,000 meters deep, is particularly impressive. Valles Marineris is believed to be one of the largest rift valley systems in the solar system – about 10 times longer, 20 times wider and five times deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth.

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Red Mars. (iconic image) © imago / LiaKoltyrina

The images from which the Mars mosaics were painstakingly assembled were taken from NASAThe Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2006. Day in and day out, MRO provides images of the surface that the Bruce Murray Planetary Visualization Laboratory has now used to create an interactive mosaic.

110,000 images from Mars invite you to explore

110,000 images from the black and white CTX camera on the MRO spacecraft were used for this, and one pixel of the massive image represents about 25 square meters of the Martian surface. “I wanted something accessible to everyone,” project leader Guy Dixon explains in a statement. “Schoolchildren can use it. My mom, who just turned 78, can use it. The goal is to lower the barriers for people interested in exploring Mars.”

The CTX Global Mars Mosaic is a project with the epitome of superlatives: It is the “highest resolution global image of the Red Planet ever created,” according to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). If the image were printed at 5.7 terapixels, it would be large enough to cover the entire Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena. The project took six years and tens of thousands of man-hours to complete.

Mars mosaics also provide important insights for science

“For 17 years, MRO has been showing us Mars like no one has seen it before,” said Rich Zurek, JPL MRO project scientist. “This mosaic is a great new way to explore some of the shots we’ve collected.”

However, the new Mars mosaic isn’t just for the general public: a beta version has already been used for more than 120 studies. “I’ve wanted something like this for a long time,” confirms Mars researcher Laura Kerber. “It’s a beautiful piece of art and useful for science at the same time.” NASA rover Curiosity recently observed a previously unknown phenomenon on Mars. (unpaid bill)