HiRISE camera captures high-resolution 3D images of Mars

December 9th, 2008 - 5:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): The High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) team, based at the University of Arizona (UA) in the US, has captured 362 three-dimensional images of Mars taken by the HiRISE camera on NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Other Mars-orbiting cameras have taken 3D views of Mars, but the HiRISE camera - the most powerful camera ever to orbit another planet - can resolve features as small as one meter, or 40 inches, across.

Its really remarkable to see Martian rocks and features on the scale of a person in 3D, said Alfred McEwen of UAs Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, HiRISE principal investigator.

The level of detail is just much, much greater than anything previously seen from orbit, he added.

Seen in HiRISE 3D, Mars becomes a collection of deep panoramic views that leap out from the computer screen.

Youd swear you could touch the terrain, HiRISE operations manager Eric Eliason said.

Some striking stereo views of the Red Planet include 200-foot-tall fractured mounds, probably composed of solidified lava, on the southern edge of Elysium Planitia, and, groups of gullies at different elevations along the wall of an unnamed crater in Terra Cimmeria.

Other dramatic anaglyphs show a huge jumbled mass of rock that includes megabreccia at a central peak in Ritchey crater, ejecta-formed channels and mudflows at Hale crater, tightly folded rock layers lining the floor of Tithonium Chasm, spiders created by carbon dioxide venting through south polar layered deposits, and Martian glacier flows.

The HiRISE camera has so far taken 950 stereo image pairs.

The camera features a half-meter, or 20-inch, diameter primary mirror and a focal plane mechanism that can acquire up to a 3.6 megapixel image in about 11 seconds.

The anaglyphs are among 1,642 observations containing 3.6 terabytes of data and 148,000 image products that HiRISE released to the Planetary Data System, or the PDS. (ANI)

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