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Visual Artist Creates Video Simulating A Flyby On Mars Using Real Data

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A visual artists named Sean Doran created a video of what a flyby would look like over the surface of Mars. Doran used data captured by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to create the flyby.

The data captured by the HiRISE camera wasn't a video footage.

Flyby Of Martian Surface

Doran's animation of the surface of Mars shows the Gorgonum Chaos. Images for the video were obtained by the HiRISE camera from the MRO from about 200 miles above the surface of Mars. The HiRISE camera is used by scientists to detect sites for possible landers and human visitors that might be sent to the planet.

Doran was able to create this video because of the high-resolution images that are captured by the HiRISE camera. He told Gizmodo that the quality of the images that are provided by HiRISE allowed him to make the animation, which is almost as good as being there. One downside is that the images need to be processed before a video like this could be made.

This processing also requires the person to be able to interpret the colors in the images directly. Photos used by Doran do not come in the color, in which they can be seen in the video. Doran used large raw files that presented the images in red, green, and blue colors. It was up to him to make it fit the audience's perception of what the Martian surface actually looks like.

Gorgonum Chaos is located in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Scientists believe that the landscape was created by water that once ran on the surface of the planet. The dried-up land now features canyons and a cracked surface.

How It Is Done

To be able to create the images seen in the video. Doran first processed the images by fixing the colors. Then he used Blender to turn the data into a 3D mesh, and it was then optimized. Doran has to process the textures from the raw files to enhance the details. All the files are then combined using 3DS Max software and then animated using After Effects.

He also had to take some artistic liberties. Doran had to add in the sky to the images since HiRISE only takes pictures of the surface of Mars. The result shows what it would be like to fly over the surface of Mars.

Hubble provides a brief explanation about processing images from space.

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