Mars has always been an enigmatic planet, but thanks to NASA’s Crater View, earthlings can now take a virtual tour of the Red Planet.
Officially christened as Mars Trek, NASA has released an online virtual tour application that offers a high-resolution interactive map of Mars. The zoomable map provides detailed views of multiple landmarks on Mars including Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system, measuring more than 15 miles (24 km) above its surrounding surface and Valles Marineris, a canyon that runs across one-fourth of Mars’ surface and measures about 90 miles (150km) wide, reported the Daily Mail.
Crater View is a much more practical application than mere sightseeing the Red Planet. Gigantic rift valleys that fracture the surface over vast distances, combined with huge outflow channels, allow ordinary citizens to actually observe how water once flowed freely on Mars. Mars Trek also allows a detailed 3D view of the Red Planet, and you can even flip the planet upside down to reveal its north and south poles.
The tool allows you to see through the eyes of different Mars orbiters that are currently engaged in studying the terrain for possible landing zones for eventual colonization. In case you wish to print the landmarks in 3D, you will merely need an access to a 3D printer as Crater View provides details of how to print out various features on the red planet.
Mars has always fascinated Earth dwellers. Apart from science fiction spoon-feeding us images of Martians, scientists have always dreamt of finding water reservoirs on the Red Planet. Owing to ground-based telescopes to fly-bys to various robots trudging along the dusty Martian surface, we now have tons of data about Mars. The Mariner 9 and Viking Orbiter missions produced the first planet-wide views of Mars’ surface. Thanks to Crater View, all of the information has been collated into a single web-based application that offers a detailed, high-resolution visual tour of Mars, reported Tech Times.
Mars Trek has been built on the foundation of a similar tool by Mapbox, a custom online map service used by companies, including Pinterest and Uber. Both NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) have contributed a great deal of data to make this map possible. Perhaps in the future, we might get similar maps of other planets.
[Image Credit | Getty, NASA]