With 'Google Earth' for Mars, explore the red planet from home

December 8, 2011 By Shelley Littin, University of Arizona
Mars emerges in three dimensions in the image above with a simple pair of 3D glasses. Called an anaglyph image file, colors have been offset in this image so that the image may be viewed in 3D. This and many other anaglyphs are available on the HiRISE website. (Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new software tool developed by the HiRISE team in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab allows members of the public to download high-resolution images of the Martian landscape almost instantaneously and explore the surface of the Red Planet from their own desktops.

Imagine zooming in over the surface of Mars, sweeping over and circling around the rims of craters – all from your home desktop. 

With HiView, the image-viewing tool recently released by the Science Experiment, or HiRISE, team at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab, you can do just that. 

"HiView is intended to be a tool that both scientists and the general public can use to explore the images at the highest possible quality level, and do so quickly and easily," said Rodney Heyd, the ground data systems manager for the HiRISE mission.

Mounted aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the HiRISE camera sweeps the surface of the collecting image data.

"HiRISE is a scanning imager," explained Bradford Castalia, the systems analyst and principle developer who designed the HiView software. "It scans the surface of Mars from the spacecraft and gathers information as it's going. And it has to do this very, very fast." 

"Imagine you want to take a picture of a single grain of sand using a camera pointing out through a hole in the bottom of your car as you drive over that grain of sand at 200 miles an hour," said Castalia. "You're going to take a picture of one grain of sand, and you want it to be really sharp. That's what HiRISE is doing. It's pushing the electronics to the extreme." 

With 'Google earth' for mars, explore the red planet from home
Said HiView developer Bradford Castalia: "You can really get into it in very interesting ways. The ability to see surface features from orbit around Mars and then to zoom right down onto the surface from HiRISE - that's breathtaking." Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The images produced by HiRISE are in the gigabyte size range: Up to tens of thousands of pixels across and more than 100,000 pixels high, the images are big enough to be murals on your living room wall. The current volume of image data from the HiRISE camera that has been made available to the public exceeds 67 Terabytes, said Heyd. 

"This is the kind of research project that is fundamentally a data production operation. The research associated with it follows on from the production of the data," said Castalia. "We needed a way to get that data out to people: to the science community and to the public at large." 

"The need for a tool like HiView was known from the very beginning of the HiRISE project," said Heyd. "The HiRISE camera produces images so large that it can take an hour or more to download a single image. Such large images also have large storage requirements." The HiRISE team adopted an image file format known as JPEG2000 to transfer and store the large volumes of imagery from the HiRISE camera. "This file format allows software supporting the JPEG2000 networking capabilities to download and view just a portion of any image in less than 30 seconds, resolving the need to spend a long time downloading an entire image and ensuring there is enough local storage space to hold the image," said Heyd. 

In HiView, users can select a portion of the image and download only that portion of the image, so the user doesn't have to wait hours for the entire image file to download. "Once a region has been selected for viewing, only the area that fits on the computer screen will be downloaded, plus a small additional region around the edges to make panning around the image more seamless," said Heyd. 

With 'Google earth' for mars, explore the red planet from home
An oval mesa similar to the mesas of Monument Valley in Arizona and Utah is a remnant of a geologic feature that once covered a greater area on the Martian surface. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

"HiView is the simplest way to access HiRISE imagery. Once the application has been downloaded to your computer, you can drag and drop a link to any image on the HiRISE website to the HiView application and view that image at the same quality that our scientists are using to analyze the features found in the imagery." 

HiView is equipped with a set of data exploration tools so that users can move beyond just viewing the images and explore the data scientifically if they are so inclined. 

Castalia hopes that the tools will entice people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue their interests in science. "It's really easy to use and very accessible," said Castalia. "And this allows high school or elementary school students to use HiView to see beautiful HiRISE imagery. I'm hoping that out of the corner of their eyes, they will see these tools and get excited about the science." 

More than just an image-viewing tool, HiView also has image enhancement capabilities similar to the functions of Photoshop, and it is versatile in terms of the programs it is designed to work with, unlike many software applications. 

A statistics tool gives information about the distribution of image values in a particular area of the image. A tool called a data mapper shows viewers a graph of source data and display data that allows users to apply contrast stretch to compare the source data and display data. HiView takes particular advantage of computers with multiple processing units and large or multiple desktops to provide a better use experience. 

HiView isn't limited to HiRISE imagery. "HiView is able to read and write image data using conventional file formats so users can employ image formats that are suitable to their purpose," said Castalia. Members of the HiRISE science team use the program to get a first sense of what an observation contains, said Castalia. 

"The pictures are beautiful, but there's real science in there," said Castalia. "That's part of what HiView allows people to do is to explore the science that's there in the imagery. People can really experience what it means to be involved in a mission. All you have to do is get in there and explore." 

"Given the volume of imagery that HiRISE produces no one has had time to fully analyze our entire data set," added Heyd. "So anyone with an interest in examining the imagery has the potential to discover something new."

Explore further: HiRISE Camera Views the Mars Rover 'Spirit' at 'Home Plate'

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1.9 / 5 (14) Dec 08, 2011
Google earth already lets you explore mars with high resolution images... there's a toolbar icon you switch between earth, the moon, and mars....
3 / 5 (14) Dec 08, 2011
Google mars is a couple of years old, at least.

What's all the hubbub, bub?

Now, this is neat. http://www.virtualocean.org/
1 / 5 (8) Dec 08, 2011
HiRise cameras aboard the MRO has been sending back large file images from Mars since about 2006. In the beginning the images were in black & white. . .then they started adding FALSE colorization after the raw images were picked over already by the University of Arizona, NASA and JPL. . .probably by MSSS too. My group and I found evidence of water and other anomalies starting in 2007 and sent our findings to NASA, but it was never acknowledged by them even though the pictures came from NASA's own images.
The HiRise website had been encouraging viewers to join a sort of club they called "CLICKWORKERS". Our group didn't bother with that because we assumed that the website had software that would be downloaded into the "clickworkers'" computers along with the large file images and the IASViewer software, so that NASA could monitor any anomalies that was found by th clickworkers. The HiRise website appears to have discontinued the clickworkers and is now offering something else.
1 / 5 (10) Dec 08, 2011
Also, the IASViewer was once a stand alone software that, once downloaded from the HiRise website, one could view the large file images from Mars without having to be connected to the HiRise website at all. But now, there are in glitches in the IASViewer software and HiRise advises that to view the images, one can download the IASViewer directly with the desired image, BUT you have to still be connected to HiRise while viewing the image(s). We prefer to independently view the images without being connected and having a spying software on whatever we are viewing. It's a form of "big brother" but there are other ways to access the IASViewer.
The "false colorization" of the images masks and obliterates a lot of features of the Martian terrain, which is evidence that the raw images are being manipulated so that amateur researchers can only see what NASA wants them to see. A bill presented to Congress might stop that practice.
2.9 / 5 (112) Dec 08, 2011
Here's the link to Pirouette's "group" (he and his girlfriend). http://www.marscr...pot.com/
Closeup photos of the helmeted male and his female companion. They seem to be about to take flight.

The three photos above show a closeup of the cave-like structure which does NOT appear to be natural. Rather, it seems, to me, that it is artificial and may be housing for these gigantic humanoids.

These four photos above show the two females. Note the shadow cast by the headdress or cap that the female below is wearing.

This giant appears to be trying to climb over the broken stone idol to visit with the "girls" down below in the "grotto". His face is surrounded by some type of head covering and he may be wearing something to keep him warm. . . .a parka, maybe?

One has to wonder what could possibly have motivated the NASA scientists to destroy the glassy covering on this rock, and thereby probably killing the creatures that lived inside.

What a loon.
1 / 5 (9) Dec 08, 2011
Yes. . . .anybody interested in the possibility of life on Mars can view the pictures on that link provided by FrankHerbert$hithead. The first set of pictures are of an area on Mars that is wet, possibly with either water or an oil. . .maybe a gel-like substance. The second set are of the lifeforms that we discovered in the NASA images from the HiRise cameras. Enjoy the pictures and please let me know if you see the humanoid life forms that are semi-translucent.
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 08, 2011
Then, you might be interested to see what kind of people FrankHerbert$hithead and GhostofOtto really are. Here is the link:

FrankHerbert$hithead STILL hasn't provided any observation regarding the question in the article of the V shapes on the limestone floor in the city of David. He follows me and others around in the threads to harass and try to intimidate. I am surprised that Ghost follows suit since I used to think Ghost was intelligent. Too bad he proved me wrong.
1.9 / 5 (9) Dec 08, 2011
^report abuse

dood, you're living a paranoid fantasy.

And support structure for tubes; sand dunes make not.
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 08, 2011
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 09, 2011
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 09, 2011
I thought this was an old feature of Google Earth. Like Shootist and CHollman have said - this feature is at least a couple of years old. You can also switch to the Moon, and there's another feature that lets you see beneath the ocean.
5 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2011
For those of you asking what this has over Google Earth: Quite a lot. Google has only imported a small fraction of the HiRISE imagery at full resolution, and what's more, there are a number of additional products that the HiRISE team produces that aren't in Google Earth at all. The only way to access them at full resolution is through a JPEG2000 viewer.

As for Pirouette's conspiracy mongering. Just from his comments it is quite clear that he doesn't understand how the HiRISE camera works or is all that familiar with either the color or the pan chromatic imagery, and as such, it's impossible to take him seriously. He is entitled to his opinion, but the fact is, unless you want to spend literally thousands of hours downloading that data and thousands of dollars on the disk space needed to store all that data, utilizing tools like the IAS Viewer or HiView that support the jpip protocol are essential if you want to get a broad sense of what the HiRISE data set contains.
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 20, 2011
I have the IASViewer and have utilized my copy and have used its many great features, as have the members of my Mars group and we have many clear, high resolution images. Perhaps I did not elaborate on my knowledge of the viewer, but I assure you, it works very well for me and many others. I have no idea what kind of conspiracy you are talking about. I merely said that the image above does not appear to be from the HiRise, but more from the MOC. I have downloaded over 500 JP2s from HiRise and am still investigating them with the viewer. It is an ongoing process that I'm very familiar with since years ago. Thank you for your input.
3 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2011
Ahahahahahahaha... Oh Gawd....

How does Libertarian Spirochete manage to feed himself?

It is now abundantly clear that RyggTard, OmaTard and Spirochete are suffering from significant psychiatric disorders.

I may have to re-evaluate my view of Global Warming denialists to include a substantial fraction who are not just mal-educated but border line insane.


The following photos are from a previous page in this weblog. I had added colorized versions in order to clarify the human-like life forms in the photos and try to emphasize their appearances and to enable viewers of this blog to actually see them better. I removed the colorized photos several months ago to try to improve them. But, due to my inferior photo software, I seem to have been unable to make much of an improvement. So, I am presenting them again here, as they are." - Spirochete

2.9 / 5 (109) Dec 20, 2011
LMAO _I_ missed this one.
#5 Pixel: 1077,4607 Data: 401 Display: 168 Rotation: 6.7 degrees This too, is a bit fuzzy. But even so, the sand dune worms stand out beautifully. Notice the sharp ridge of their backs? They are definitely NOT sand dunes!!

LOL when FrankHerbert laughs at you over this, you should take something from that. Sandworms, Christ. Shai-hulud help this man :)

How does Libertarian Spirochete manage to feed himself?

Government (military) pension.
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 20, 2011
Insanity.... Pure Insanity, and on almost every level imaginable.

Vote Ron Paul 2012.
Dec 21, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
2.8 / 5 (111) Dec 21, 2011
Moderators, I expect the above comment to be removed for "POINTLESS VERBIAGE". Thank you.
2.7 / 5 (130) Dec 21, 2011
Moderators, I expect the above comment to be removed for "POINTLESS VERBIAGE". Thank you.

What about the one above that, and your's pointing that out, and this one point this out?

You feign concern over "POINTLESS VERBIAGE", yet completely abuse the comment rating system with multiple screen names. Intellectually corrupt Hypocrite.
2.7 / 5 (128) Dec 21, 2011
FrankHubris, you just rated yourself a 5 with your screen name "OverweightAnatolian". Seriously, WHY? Not that I care, but seriously, why do you care to maintain you ratings artificially?
2.8 / 5 (112) Dec 21, 2011
Intellectually corrupt Hypocrite.

LMAO what was it you had in there before the edit? "Something Commie Hypocrite."

Lol I want to know the whole spiel, I found it really funny at the time, but I can't remember the first word for the life of me. I'd appreciate it if you posted your original insult.

Not that I care, but

"I'm not a racist, but"

Also, It shouldn't need to be said, but it's obvious Noumenon has some sort of paranoid disorder. He thinks everyone that disagrees with him is me and maybe one other poster. It's only a matter of time before he merges that into me as well.
2.7 / 5 (127) Dec 21, 2011
That sounds gay.

Anyway what I said was "racists commie Hypocrite" or some permutation thereof. This was meant as a joke, but then I decided not to be funny so I edited.

As to your multiple screen names,.. they are DEFINITIVELY you. This is obvious, as your same sock-puppet-harem rates you 5's while at the SAME TIME this same sock-puppet-harem rates others 1's. These sock-puppets never post anything themselves.

Obviously, you are trying to cancel others votes of you. I was just curious why you would spend time on this?
2.8 / 5 (110) Dec 21, 2011
That sounds gay.

Seek help.

Anyway what I said was "racists commie Hypocrite" or some permutation thereof. This was meant as a joke, but then I decided not to be funny so I edited.

No you actually had enough presence of mind to realize how crazy it made you sound. Cultivate that presence of mind into some decent opinions.

As to your multiple screen names

Seek help.
2.2 / 5 (5) Dec 21, 2011
These sock-puppets never post anything themselves.

2.7 / 5 (129) Dec 21, 2011
Your sock-puppet-harem just happen to be a play off the screen names of conservatives you regularly try to spare with. In any case, it is obvious enough, and besides you have admitted as much.

Again, you didn't answer my question about the rating system?
2.7 / 5 (127) Dec 21, 2011
These sock-puppets never post anything themselves.


OK, that was funny.
2.7 / 5 (126) Dec 21, 2011
No you actually had enough presence of mind to realize how crazy it made you sound. Cultivate that presence of mind into some decent opinions.

I gave you my motivation. Who are you to question that. Most of my opinions wrt physics and/or philosophy seem to be beyond your comprehension, so again, who are you to judge.
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 22, 2011
FrankHubris, you just rated yourself a 5 with your screen name "OverweightAnatolian". Seriously, WHY? Not that I care, but seriously, why do you care to maintain your ratings artificially?


@Nou. . .the more FHubris and his lapdogs make fun of my girlfriend's and her sisters' website, the more publicity they give it, which means that more people will LOOK HARD at the pictures and many will notice that there really are life forms on Mars and not just geology. Of course, the geology is nice too. I hope he keeps on laughing and mocking the pictures. Keep on putting the web address in the threads. . .PLEEEEASE. We NEED the publicity.
1 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2011
I don't know why I associate with this group of people...
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 03, 2012
IP sniffers are fun. You can learn all sorts of things about who is posting on sites and who has multiple accounts posting within the same small range of IP addresses. Just saying... :)

As to Google Earth, I like to use it to look over the surface of the Red Planet. Now that HiView has been added it will make things even more enjoyable with better resolution photos. I plan to begin experimenting with it today. Thanks, Physorg.com, for reporting it here.

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