'Rough Guide to Mars' – scientists offer virtual reality tours of the surface of Mars

July 3, 2006
'Rough Guide to Mars' – scientists offer virtual reality tours of the surface of Mars
'Rough Guide to Mars' – scientists offer virtual reality tours of the surface of Mars

The dramatic landscapes of Mars will be brought to life at this week's Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, thanks to work carried out by a team of geologists and engineers at Imperial, University College London and the Open University.

Using new images generated by the European Space Agency's Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera, the team has created 3D visualisations of the canyons, volcanoes and craters of the Red Planet.

This 'Rough Guide to Mars' will allow visitors to take the controls and explore canyons carved by gigantic floods, peer down into volcanoes and plunge into a frozen sea, recently discovered by the Mars Express spacecraft. Dr Sanjeev Gupta, of Imperial's Department of Earth Science and Engineering, comments:

"It will be great fun,like having your very own jetpack and whizzing around the Martian landscape without leaving your chair."

As well as bringing Martian landscapes to life, the technology gives geologists new opportunities to examine geological features that provide important clues to the planet's evolution and history. Dr Gupta adds:

"The more we see of the surface of Mars, the more exciting it becomes. At Imperial we are investigating features created by huge catastrophic floods that form deep beneath the surface, where life may have developed. Theres every chance that future explorations could bring back proof that Earth is not the only planet in our Solar System supporting living organisms."

The team will also display a meteorite from Mars and a scale model of the ESA's Mars Express.

Source: University College London

Explore further: Building a microscope to search for signs of life on other worlds

Related Stories

Dawn starts steep descent to most dazzling orbit of Ceres

October 30, 2015

The most dazzling views ever seen of dwarf planet Ceres and its mysterious bright spots are what's on tap by year's end as NASA's amazing Dawn spacecraft starts a gradual but steep descent over the next two months to its ...

How close are we to living on Mars?

October 6, 2015

Like any long-distance relationship, our love affair with Mars has had its ups and downs. The planet's red tint made it a distinctive – but ominous – nighttime presence to the ancients, who gazed at it with the naked ...

Recommended for you

Getting into the flow on the International Space Station

December 1, 2015

Think about underground water and gas as they filter through porous materials like soil and rock beds. On Earth, gravity forces water and gas to separate as they flow through the ground, cleaning the water and storing it ...

Exiled exoplanet likely kicked out of star's neighborhood

December 1, 2015

A planet discovered last year sitting at an unusually large distance from its star - 16 times farther than Pluto is from the sun - may have been kicked out of its birthplace close to the star in a process similar to what ...

Cassini mission provides insight into Saturn

December 1, 2015

Scientists have found the first direct evidence for explosive releases of energy in Saturn's magnetic bubble using data from the Cassini spacecraft, a joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian ...

Timing a sextuple quasar

December 1, 2015

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores around which vast amounts of energy are being radiated. Indeed, so much light is emitted that the nucleus of a quasar is much brighter than the rest of the entire ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.