Shadows cast from Victoria's capes and bays
Posted By Emily Lakdawalla
2008/04/14 03:51 CDT
This is from the "just plain cool" department. Among the many tasks assigned to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter imaging team is to create "digital elevation models," otherwise known as DEMs, for current and future landing sites on Mars. DEMs are, essentially, topographic maps; they're really valuable for rover missions especially, because they can tell you how steep slopes are, what directions they face, and where shadows will be cast at different times of day. Doug Ellison has been playing with a DEM that Randy Kirk and the other folks at the United States Geologic Survey have been working on for Victoria Crater, the spot that the Opportunity rover has been exploring since late 2006. He created an animation that flies a light source over the crater in the same path taken by the Sun in the sky at Mars.
- Victoria Crater shadow animation (medium resolution, 2.5 MB, Quicktime format)
- Victoria Crater shadow animation (high resolution, 9 MB, Quicktime format)
While I'm speaking about the rovers, I should mention that this week's Planetary Radio features an interview with rover principal investigator Steve Squyres. Enjoy!