Mosaic image reveals Martian glory

Aug 16, 2014

By BBC News

Scientists in Germany have pieced together a stunning mosaic image of the Martian surface.

The global “atlas” was painstakingly constructed from pictures sent back by a camera instrument on Europe’s Mars Express spacecraft, which is in orbit around the Red Planet.

The detailed mosaic should help better inform the selection of landing sites for future Martian missions.

It is the work of a team at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Lead author Dr Patrick McGuire recently presented the mosaic at the Mars 8 meeting in Pasadena, California. This version had a resolution of about 475m per pixel in a file that’s about 1GB in size. This, he said, made it “manageable to download or study”.

But Dr McGuire and colleagues Prof Stephan van Gasselt, Sebastian Walter and others want to ultimately push the resolution down to 12.5m per pixel – which would make it one of the most detailed semi-global representations of Mars available.

“To be able to view some of the geomorphological features at a resolution of 12.5m per pixel together with their regional and global context would be quite an advance,” Dr McGuire said.

Mars Express was launched in 2003 on a mission to gather scientific measurements of Mars’ atmosphere, surface and subsurface.

5 comments on “Mosaic image reveals Martian glory

  • @OP – Mosaic image reveals Martian glory

    Here’s another composite image:-

    Curiosity Finds Iron Meteorite on Mars
    This rock encountered by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is an iron meteorite called “Lebanon,” similar in shape and luster to iron meteorites found on Mars by the previous generation of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Lebanon is about 2 yards or 2 meters wide (left to right, from this angle). The smaller piece in the foreground is called “Lebanon B.”

    This view combines a series of high-resolution circular images taken by the Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) of Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument with color and context from rover’s Mast Camera (Mastcam). The component images were taken during the 640th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (May 25, 2014).

    The imaging shows angular shaped cavities on the surface of the rock. One possible explanation is that they resulted from preferential erosion along crystalline boundaries within the metal of the rock. Another possibility is that these cavities once contained olivine crystals, which can be found in a rare type of stony-iron meteorites called pallasites, thought to have been formed near the core-mantle boundary within an asteroid.

    Iron meteorites are not rare among meteorites found on Earth, but they are less common than stony meteorites. On Mars, iron meteorites dominate the small number of meteorites that have been found. Part of the explanation could come from the resistance of iron meteorites to erosion processes on Mars.

    If these metallic meteorites are common in space or in asteroids, mining them for manufacturing components in space, could be a valuable alternative to expensive launches from planets.

    Some of the potential uses were explained in this earlier discussion:-

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