Casual Friday — Fly me to the m… to Mars!

OK, so at this point we have no idea where astronauts will go next, if anywhere. But in the meantime, armchair astronauts can (to some degree) content themselves with a couple of cool videos put together by Doug Ellison of from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) data.

One of the products that comes from the MRO HiRISE camera team is a set of digital elevation models (DEMs), essentially high-resolution data sets showing the elevation of swaths of terrain — each about 4 km wide and 8-12 km long. Using these, Doug (or anybody else, for that matter, with some know-how and computer time) could put together video showing what a flyover of the imaged terrain would look like — in a realistic fashion, without exaggeration of elevations (although the color looks flat to me).

The first flyover is of the wall of Mojave crater:

The second is of Athabasca Valles, a channel cut by catastrophic flooding:

Doug says he’s hard at work on more of these flyover videos, so stay tuned…

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