An amazing 3D Mars video has been put together using photos taken from a spacecraft that’s been orbiting the red planet for years.
The newly released video shows a breathtaking view of the planet, bringing it to life as it never has before.
The European Space Agency’s Mars Express has orbited the red planet 12,500 times which has resulted in it capturing spectacular images.
Scientists have put together the 3D Mars video from the thousands of photos taken by Mars Express, the first spacecraft built to explore another planet.
The Mars Express was built to provide high-resolution photos with its stereoscopic camera and a mineralogical mapping spectrometer.
The spacecraft got its name from the speed at which it was built and put into orbit.
The video provides an unprecedented view of the planet’s terrain which include detailed visual information on valleys, canyons, and lava flows.
“For the first time, we can see Mars spatially — in three dimensions,” Ralf Jaumann, project manager for the Mars Express mission at the German Aerospace Center, said in a statement.
The images in the stunning 3D Mars video cover 37 million square miles of Mars’ surface, more than half of the planet’s surface.
Scientists from around the world collect data from Mars Express and combine it with data provided by NASA’s other missions to the red planet to study Mars’ terrain.
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“This has enabled the creation of the most comprehensive data set that has ever been acquired by a German instrument designed to study our solar system,” Jaumann said.
To produce the 3D Mars video, nine light-sensitive detectors aboard the spacecraft sweep across the surface of the planet and capture images in sequence from nine different angles.
Planetary researchers at the German Aerospace Center then process the data into 3D images.
“We can see the entire topography almost as well as if we were standing on Mars ourselves,” Jaumann said.
According to SPACE.com, researchers can use these topographical maps to study Martian volcanism.
The Mars Express was launched on June 2, 2003 and has been orbiting the red planet ever since. Now, with this new amazing 3D Mars video scientists can really explore the landscape of Earth’s neighbor. The mission is expected to last until the end of 2014.