NASA had warned Emmart and his colleagues against working with these images "because they're extremely data intensive," he said, "but we've worked that out with our production systems staff here at the museum and together with the high school students, so we have a pipeline for cherry-picking essentially these interesting areas that have not been processed yet."
With high-resolution, 3D renditions of the Martian landscape, you can make out small surface features like sharp mountain peaks and rocks as small as footballs. You can even find NASA's Curiosity rover and its landing site, where some hardware was left behind, and what's left of the European Space Agency's Schiaparelli lander that crashed on Mars in October.
Since they started working in 2002, Emmart and his student interns have created "a unique visual system for looking at what we call our digital universe — data that essentially goes from the Earth to the macroscales of the universe."
Beyond Mars, the researchers are already planning to build these types of visualizations for Earth's moon, Pluto, Mercury, and Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus, with the ultimate and ambitious goal of visualizing the entire universe. OpenSpace also visualizes space weather events, like solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can affect Earth's satellites and other spacecraft throughout the solar system.
Eventually, OpenSpace visualizations will be available on YouTube in the form of 360-degree videos, Emmart said. For now, those who wish to embark on a journey to Mars with OpenSpace can do so at New York's Hayden Planetarium. On Aug. 1, Emmart will give his Mars presentation together with the MARSBAND, a group of musicians who will play live music to accompany the Martian tour. (You can buy tickets to this event here.)
Because OpenSpace is an open-source software, you can access the source codes online for free and start building your own visualizations. Or you can watch a demonstration of the Mars visualization by OpenSpace on YouTube.
Original article on Space.com.
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