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Bill DunfordApril 7, 2015

Mars, In Depth

Not long after a new collection of three-dimensional lunar landscapes went online, NASA has released the latest batch of 3D anaglyphs from Mars. As it circles the planet, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter trains its powerful HiRISE camera on the surface. Sometimes, mission planners command HiRISE to image the same scientifically interesting spot twice, once from one angle, then again on a subsequent orbit--after the spacecraft has rolled slightly to the left or right. This yields a pair of images that can be combined into a 3D anaglyph.

Surveying scenes from Mars this way reveals the complex beauty of these places in a completely new way. The only thing better would be to go there in person. I understand people are working on that. Meanwhile, if you haven't already, you'll want to get (or even make) a pair of red-blue glasses and enjoy some of the latest 3D images. Some of them are only a few weeks old.

I've included a few of my favorites here, starting with a look at a formation that Mars explorers suspect is part of an ancient river delta. The HiRISE team made this image as part of an effort to search for landforms that suggest the river once emptied into a standing body of water.

All of these pictures draw us at least one step deeper into the story of the Red Planet. 

Possible Ancient Martian River Delta (3D)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Possible Ancient Martian River Delta (3D)
An anaglyph (viewable in 3D using red-blue glasses) made from a pair of images acquired by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The area shown is about four kilometers across.
Layered Deposits Near the North Pole of Mars (3D)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Layered Deposits Near the North Pole of Mars (3D)
An anaglyph (viewable in 3D using red-blue glasses) made from a pair of images acquired by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The area shown is about 3 kilometers across.
Mound in Chryse Planitia, Mars (3D)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Mound in Chryse Planitia, Mars (3D)
An anaglyph (viewable in 3D using red-blue glasses) made from a pair of images acquired by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The structure shown is about a kilometer across.
Layered Rock in the Northwest Hellas Region of Mars (3D)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Layered Rock in the Northwest Hellas Region of Mars (3D)
An anaglyph (viewable in 3D using red-blue glasses) made from a pair of images acquired by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The area shown is about four kilometers across.
Exposure of Layered Deposits in the Southern Polar Cap of Mars (3D)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Exposure of Layered Deposits in the Southern Polar Cap of Mars (3D)
An anaglyph (viewable in 3D using red-blue glasses) made from a pair of images acquired by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The area shown is about three kilometers across.
Dunes in Nili Patera, Mars (3D)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dunes in Nili Patera, Mars (3D)
An anaglyph (viewable in 3D using red-blue glasses) made from a pair of images acquired by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The area shown is about four kilometers across.

Read more: pretty pictures, Mars, 3D, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

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