Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Help yourself to the Digital Terrain Model of Mars!

Four years after Europe's Mars Express entered orbit a dream has come true for Mars fans: The Digital Terrain Model generated from the images of the High Resolution Stereo Camera has been released - and can be accessed with a simple viewing tool at the FU Berlin in which you can set many parameters yourself! This blogger in particular likes the possibility to set the factor of vertical exaggeration - including none at all! Until now all 3D HRSC views have been presented with an exaggeration of several - now you can see Mars as it really would look like if you went there (although in false color). Try it out e.g. with Olympus Mons, one of many features to select: It's really a very flat volcano!

In other news the New York Times Science section has a long story about amateur satellite observers and what they learn about secret spacecraft (the most famous one refused to be photographed for the article ...). There is already an impressive collection of color images of comet Chen-Gao, and a composite of Holmes images shows its evolution over 3+ months. Also, even science fiction fans are impressed by the Sun in H alpha light ...

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