Using Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope program, you can now take an interactive tour of Mars with the highest-resolution images available of the Red Planet -- something even scientists have never been able to see before.
NASA scientists have been crunching data for three years on more than 100 computers to come up with the brand-new Mars map. Its image collection spans the Viking orbiters nearly 40 years ago to the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is still snapping pictures.
NASA says it was looking for a way to share its wealth of Mars images, and WorldWide Telescope was a good fit. To use it, you have to download the PC-only free program, or use a Web client.
NASA says the map may lead to new scientific discoveries.
The program lets you fly through a 3-D rendering of Victoria Crater, soar past Olympus Mons and examine rock formations with surface-level detail.
In some Martian locales, you can right-click an image, and you'll find Web pages for the missions that captured them.
The 3-D effect is derived from information provided by an instrument called MOLA, the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, which flew on the Mars Global Surveyor. Scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., combined the data with regular images to come up with 3-D views.
The images themselves reside on the Nebula cloud at NASA-Ames.
Two NASA scientists also offer video tours. James Garvin of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., walks viewers through the geological history of Mars and discusses three possible landing sites for human missions there. Carol Stoker of Ames addresses the question of whether Mars harbors life, and discusses the findings of NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander.
Stupid silver light... i hate windows. LINUX FTW
downloaded it and got bored in less than a minute, wheres the aliens and lasers?
NASA online functions should be FULLY SUPPORTED in Open Source, as it is FULLY SUPPORTED with taxpayer money.
Even the Microsoft technology used here owes the small amount of system efficiency it does have, to Open Source. This project would have been highly improbable without Open Source development efforts. Storage and file tree integration between input sources alone would be nearly insurmountable challenges if attempted using all Microsoft proprietary software. Once again, for the private sector, the Open Source community stands ready on any day to do whatever can be done to expand human knowledge, for all of us. You profit too.
This is a REALLY cool application - I am excited to show it to my kids. If you have an ideological OS bone to pick, I guess you won't appreciate it as much. That's ok i guess. I love the idea of open source, but are there any astronomy applications as sophisticated as this produced by the OS community? I guess there is freedom for the community to do so - which is awesome. In the meantime, I'll enjoy this.
This is a very awesome program...but really...what about the Moon? How come we still don't have any new photos of its surface since 40-50 years ago? Did we really just give up on it?
"taken by one of the Lunar Orbiter satellites in the mid-1960s." -Google Moon in reference to an anomaly (Also called a Photographic Image Artifact)
"Surprisingly, the Lunar Orbiter images are still the best images available of much of the Moon, and this is one of many reasons why NASA and other space agencies are sending a new generation of satellites to the Moon over the next few years."
-Google Moon continued text from Photographic Image Artifact
typical resource pig software... lol
Have you heard about the LRO Fummfur? We've taken much sharper images since the 60's. Sure we took a break but LRO has been orbiting the moon for a year now...
Highdobb is right, and the reason many Moon photos are from the 60s is because that's when we were going to the moon. If we had actual missions planned out, there would be much higher concentration of pictures of specific locations like the Apollo landing sites.
Sorry for asking a question Highdobb. You didn't have to answer my reply like I should of known. Sometimes people just don't. In all seriousness we have had updated pictures of most celestial objects but the moon is just going to get a close up, and not a very high res one, just this year? It really doesn't add up. And why pictures now with no future missions to the lunar surface in sight? I mean we have satellites and telescopes that can map distant galaxies with intense resolution and spot far off planets with ease yet we only receive a few new grainy surface pictures of the moon each month when by contrast Mars surface pictures look comparable to Google Earth. Mars is larger and has more of an atmosphere, so what's the excuse? It's just hard to buy seeing that the LRO has been in orbit for over a year and has taken pictures of only the Apollo sites practically to make sure we believe they happened while the MRO was programmed to map the surface of mars completely in two. Either I'm really stupid or this doesn't make sense. Also if someone can tell me why there is no distance scale on Google Mars I'll give you a moon sapphire. Kappesh?
Now an RPG game has to be created like WOW or spacecraft, but with REAL Martian territory. Then we can simulate (or just play with) what it would be like if we inhabited Mars
I find it interesting that Microsoft spends 3 years of resources on a project that benefits all, and some people have to complain that they used their own technology instead of learning and using someone ease's (Open Source) (not to mention the extra cost in time and money). It seems like people would complain about being given a million dollars because they wanted a blue check instead of a green one.
Oooh that'd be cool for them to use the real terrain, very cool idea and that'd be a good selling point I would think. Maybe add the suspected shallow seas that have been hinted at with data from the MER so you'd have some variation.
Linux only person here too. Use moonlight, linux alternative to silverlight.
@Fummfur: You must not understand the time lines all these things have taken place on. LRO was already orbiting the moon when the decision was made not to go back (land). One of the main reasons it went was to get clearer pictures for future landing sites! Also, the brilliant minds at NASA actually designed Hubble's hardware to be updated so we can get better information from the same mirror. It's not that far fetched to believe is it? Also the Mars orbiters are all upgraded versions of satellites we've perfected for Earth orbit so why does it seem weird we have such great Mars pics? Ps LRO is actually mapping every single square inch on the moon, so don't tell me all NASA did was send up a camera to snap pics of the landing sites. If that's the only pics you've seen, then I can tell you right now yes you are really stupid. Ignorance is no excuse for such a skewed opinion of half facts. Kappesh?
Dude, the party is over. Everyone went home.