Monday, July 21, 2008

Virtual Mars Rovers Created with Hollywood Sfx

These two "photos" of Martian rovers look unerringly realistic, as if another rover or astronaut took the pictures. But no, they're not real. They're composites made using rover models and actual photos of the Martian surface taken by the real rovers on Mars.

The colored picture is that of the rover Spirit on the flank of Husband Hill on Mars. The black and white picture is of the same rover in the Columbia Hills. They were made using the Virtual Presence in Space technology developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. It is a mix of image-processing technology, visualization, and cinema special effects.

Developers say the "synthesis gives a virtual presence to viewers which can help in space mission planning, to accustom people in navigating in an alien environment.

In a related visual technology, scientists are now able to experience the surface of other planets like Mars using Hollywood 3D technology which was used in one of the movies in the Nightmare in Elm Street series. You can view the picture below of the Martian surface in 3D using special movie house red and blue glasses.

Click here to explore more of outer space in 3D. Requires red-blue 3D glasses.

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