OpenSpace is an open source software which will help all those wishing to fly over Mars to do so without the hassle and preparations required by space travel. In doing so, it will be making use of its data-visualization software and the high-resolution data captured by NASA spacecraft.
OpenSpace Will Allow Us to Visit Mars Without Leaving Earth
Some have compared this new software with a sort of ‘Google Earth’ but for Mars. This is because those using the open-source program will be able to fly over the Red Planet and its mountain tops, deep valleys of the Valles Marineris, and its hills.
In doing so, it will be using data captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA’s MRO, and its Context Camera, the CTX. It is also based on information gathered by the Opportunity and Spirit Rovers. Researchers have already mapped about 90 percent of the surface of Mars to a resolution of around 20 feet per pixel.
OpenSpace, thanks to data gathered by the HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) Camera, allows scientists to map parts of the Red Planet to a resolution of around 10 inches per pixel.
According to the software’s developers, Mars is also only the beginning. The creative team is aiming high as it is targeting to ultimately create a map of the entire known Universe. It will be looking to do so with interactive and dynamic visualizations created thanks to real data gathered by spacecraft.
OpenSpace was created in partnership with the Museum of Natural History in New City and the Linkoping University in Sweden. Both researchers and student interns have been working on transforming the important data into interactive, amazing visualizations.
“We have figured out the technique where we can do that ourselves with a massive photogrammetry tool kit called the NASA Ames Stereo Pipeline,” stated Carter Emmart.
He is OpenSpace’s creative lead and the director of the museum’s astrovisualization program. Together with his team, they started working on the program back in 2002.
OpenSpace’s source codes can be accessed online for free, as those interested can create their own visualization. Those that wish to try the software can do so at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. On August 1, Emmart will also be giving a Mars presentation, held together with the MARSBAND.
Eventually, OpenSpace visualizations are expected to hit YouTube in the form of 360-degrees videos. Its next targets are the Moon, Mercury, Pluto, and Titan and Enceladus, Saturn’s moons.
Image Source: JPL/NASA