Monday, January 04, 2021

Hiking on Mars

Next month the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter drone will land on Mars inside the Jezero crater. The Ingenuity drone will be used to scout for points of interest which the Perseverance rover will then investigate and study. Perseverance is equipped with a number of scientific instruments which will help it to analyze the geology and environment of the red planet.

Perseverance of course won't be the only rover on Mars. The Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, initially for a planned two year mission. More than eight years later Curiosity is still operating. During its eight years on Mars Curiosity's cameras have captured over 200,000 images. NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab have turned those photos into a 3D model which is used to study the surface of Mars.

Explore with Curiosity allows you to virtually explore Mars using a 3D map of the planet. Using the map you can visit Dingo Gap, the Kimberley and Pahrump Hills, which are just three of the many areas explored by the Curiosity Rover. The 3D terrain was generated using images captured by the rover during its very long mission. 

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has also joined forces with Google to create Access Mars, which is another online application which you can use to explore the surface of Mars in 3D. Access Mars uses 360 degree panoramic imagery to virtually place you on the surface of Mars. Using this 'Street View' type imagery you can move around and visit important locations and learn more about the planet from a narrated tour provided by JPL Mission Scientist Katie Stack.

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