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Switzerland Technology

Tipp fürs Wochenende: Wandern auf dem Mars

Teaserbild-Quelle: NASA/Pat Rawlings, SAIC

Rock and sand in every shade of ocher and brown as far as the eye can see: An interactive map recently invited visitors to hike through Jezero Crater on Mars, where NASA Rover 2020 landed last February.


Quelle: Screenshot

In addition to elevation curves, the virtual map provides a lot of other information. (Screenshot)

“The map is the perfect tool for planning future tours of Mars,” says Sebastian Walter in front of the Free University of Berlin, who presented the map these days at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada. “Some of the slopes are quite steep. You should pay attention to this if you don’t want to use too much oxygen.”

Because the map is enriched with orbital images, elevation curves, other geodata, and real and artificial 360-degree images, you can get a fairly accurate view of the area around the crater during a virtual hike.

The panoramic images of the real world consist of countless frames captured by the Mastcam-Z camera aboard the Mars 2020 rover and provided by the University of Arizona. In addition, the landscape can be viewed in a virtual tour at different scales, whether from afar or with square centimeter accuracy in detail.

The click and buzz of the rover

Virtual view from Jezero Crater


Virtual view from Jezero Crater. (Screenshot of the map).

However, the maps offer even more: “You can even hear the noises of the rover if you stand nearby, but please do not touch them – otherwise the probes will be contaminated,” continues Walter.

The Jezero Crater Map was originally developed as an add-on to the HRSC mapping server to help scientists explore the surface of Mars. HRSC stands for High Definition Stereo Camera: it is a digital stereo camera, can record additional information from several spectral channels and has an extremely high resolution lens.

Walter comments: “As the rover provides more and more high-resolution image data and even audio recordings, Jezero is proving to be the ideal tool for interactively visualizing this data in a scientific context.” (May/MGT)

Click here for map view and virtual hike:

Expedition to Mars (illustration)

Source: NASA/Pat Rawlings, SAIC

Journey to Mars: This is how NASA’s Pat Ravalings envisions a Mars expedition.

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