Feeds

NASA unveils global Martian map

Odyssey view offers plenty of detail, but no roadsigns

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

NASA has unveiled "the most accurate global Martian map ever" - a 21,000 image mosaic from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) aboard its Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

According to the agency, the snaps have been "smoothed, matched, blended and cartographically controlled" to produce the final result, which at full zoom dishes up details as small as 100 meters.

Philip Christensen, principal investigator for THEMIS and director of the Mars Space Flight Facility, explained: "We've tied the images to the cartographic control grid provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, which also modeled the THEMIS camera's optics. This approach lets us remove all instrument distortion, so features on the ground are correctly located to within a few pixels and provide the best global map of Mars to date."

He added: "The broad purpose underlying all these sites is to make Mars exploration easy and engaging for everyone. We are trying to create a user-friendly interface between the public and NASA's Planetary Data System, which does a terrific job of collecting, validating and archiving data."

Well, the view is impressive, as this image of the Valles Marineris shows:

The Valles Marineris, as seen on NASA's new Mars map

However, there's no way of telling exactly where you are on the Martian surface, which makes exploration more of a random wander than a guided tour. A latitude and longitude reference would help.

Those of you with a working Red Planet GPS, "large bandwidth, powerful computers and software capable of handling images in the gigabyte range" can download the full-fat map in sections here.

NASA has more here. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.