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Mars takes centre stage in IMAX spectacular

NASA rovers' footage hits the big, big, screen

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Last Friday saw the premiere of Roving Mars, an IMAX spectacular created from material recorded by NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the Red Planet. The rovers' principal scientific investigator Steven Squyres, who also narrates some of the film, told Reuters: "I've kind of had this picture of what Mars really looks like in my head for all this time, and for the first time on that IMAX screen, what I saw with my eyes matched my impressions of what it should really look like."

The big-screen Martian experience is based entirely on real material. "Every single scene you see is real data from the rover, it's just processed in different ways. There is not a single fake shot of Mars," Squyers said.

For example, a sequence showing an airbag-protected rover landing on Mars was knocked together by digital artist Dan Maas from "data collected by the rovers as they bounced". Accordingly, each bounce is "just as it happened, just where it happened on the Martian surface".

Roving Mars is written, produced and directed by George Butler, whose previous credits rather deliciously include early Arnold Schwarzenegger showcase Pumping Iron. The film features an intro narrated by Paul Newman and a suitably "otherworldly" Philip Glass soundtrack. ®

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