You may have known Mars, but you’ve never seen it like this! It’s really a scientific tool, but the non-Mars specialists are free to have some fun with it! The Hi-resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). It is an awesomely cool science project involving imaging every square inch of Mars, with a resolution of 25 cm per pixel! The camera is built by the University of Arizona and mounted aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Over the last five and half years, it has returned over 20,620 images till date. We give you the link below.
Make sure you have time when you start browsing through these! It’s extremely addictive and I found myself trying to look at the dunes, then the craters, then the frosted plains, then the translucent ice on domes, then… The list is virtually endless. Go to any of the images and you’ll get numerous download options. Don’t try JP2 formats – it’s for people who want to work with the images and thus they are extremely big (a photo can measure 300 MB in size!). Try the jpeg format, which provides a compressed form of the image. RGB worked best for me. There is a ‘Science Theme’, which links it under a particular tab. Click that and you’ll be provided information on that particular theme, which you’re welcome to either relish or gobble up. You might even notice the ‘stereo pair’ reference, and I’ll explain what they are in a moment.
Downloads and a whole new dimension!
You can download a chunk of the most high resolution images by clicking ‘Updates’ right at the top of the screen. On the right, you should see download options in various resolutions. A click is all you need to take possession of masterpieces!
If you unintentionally click on the ‘Anaglyphs’ tag at the top of the screen, you’ve just discovered something awesome! You’ll see two images, which form ‘stereo pairs’. Combined and with the help of a 3D glass, you can see the images in 3D!! Yes, you read it right – the Martian topography in 3D in the comfort of your own room!
Just one word of advice while using this database: make sure you have fun! Afterall, it’s Mars!