A new stunning Mars 3D video showing the mountains, craters, ancient river beds, and lava flows of Mars has been created from images taken by the European satellite Mars Express which orbited the red planet about 12,500 times. The newly released Mars 3D video "provides a richly detailed, three-dimensional view of the Red Planet," reported Space.com on Nov. 1, 2013.
"For the first time, we can see Mars spatially — in three dimensions," said Ralf Jaumann, the project manager for the Mars Express mission at the German Aerospace Center.
Mars Express is the European Space Agency's first spacecraft built to explore another planet and the Mars 3D video was produced by the European Space Agency in joined forces with the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Since 2003, the Mars Express satellite has orbited the Red Planet 12,500 times, taking images of the Martian landscape. The stunning Mars 3D flyover video is part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the launch of the Mars Express satellite. The soundtrack accompanying the Mars 3D video is an original score by the DLR's planet cartography specialist Stephan Elgner.
The Mars Express satellite is equipped with a high-resolution stereoscopic camera and a mineralogical mapping spectrometer. Nine light-sensitive detectors aboard Mars Express sweep across the surface of the planet and can capture sequential images of the red planet from nine different angles. The data taken from Mars Express is then processed into three-dimensional images by planetary researchers at the German Aerospace Center.
"We can see the entire topography almost as well as if we were standing on Mars ourselves," Jaumann said.
Among other achievements, Mars Express found methane in the Martian atmosphere, mapped the composition of polar ice and flew close to the Martian moon Phobos. In 2004, the Mars Express' team confirmed the water find on Mars saying the south polar cap is made up of 85 percent carbon dioxide ice.
“Mars Express has covered 37 million square miles (97 million square kilometers) of Mars' surface (out of 56 million square miles or 145 million square kilometers) in high resolution. Researchers around the world combine data from Mars Express with other NASA missions at the Red Planet, to better understand the foreign world.”
If the video link above does not play, please click here to watch the stunning Mars 3D video.