Finally, ultra-high definition images of Mars are available to humans. NASA’s robotic rovers captured extraordinary images of Mars in this ultra-high-definition video.
A 10-minute clip posted on YouTube features panoramic views of the Red Planet’s surface, including sweeping deserts, massive dunes, craggy outcroppings and the cracked ground strewn with jagged rocks.
“This is the first time Martian footage has been rendered in stunning, 4K resolution,” a narrator intones as haunting music plays in the background.
The video’s “journey across the surface of another world” was posted by Britain’s ElderFox Documentaries, which said it was created using digital photos shot by three NASA rovers — Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity — and beamed back to Earth.
They were then “stitched together” to create the illusion of a camera panning across the desolate and barren landscape — and provide what the narrator calls the “most lifelike experience of being on Mars.”
The locations featured in the video bear names that include Cape Verde, Santa Maria Crater, Burns Cliff and Marathon Valley Entrance.
Some shots capture parts of the rovers that were recording the images, while others have small black sections that represent scenery that wasn’t photographed.
One view — which the narrator calls the “largest mosaic ever put together” — was made from more than 1,000 images shot by Curiosity between Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 2019.
“The rover was exploring the area named ‘Glen Torridon’ which was theorized to contain large amounts of clay,” the narrator says.
“Clay found on Mars signals the presence of water in the past. At this point, in 2020, the NASA rovers have found irrefutable evidence that Mars was once a watery planet.”
The Martian sky — which is reddish and hazy — appears in the video to range in colour from yellow to blue, which the narrator says is the result of “the re-colouring of images done by NASA in order to aid geologists identifying rock formations.”
“This technique also produces a much clearer picture so we can see Mars in much greater detail,” the narrator adds.
Although Spirit and Opportunity are no longer functioning — the result of getting trapped in a sand dune and a massive dust storm, respectively — Curiosity is scheduled to be joined on Mars next year by a new rover, Perseverance.
That model will also deploy a helicopter, Ingenuity, that will fly ahead and help NASA avoid sand traps.
But because the atmosphere on Mars is much thinner than that on Earth, Ingenuity’s rotor blades will have to spin at 2,400 revolutions per minute, compared to just 500 per minute for terrestrial choppers.