Virtual reality developer ‘FirefoxG‘ has released a free virtual reality experience where people can visit sections of Mars in incredibly high detail.
The Arizona based developer made the section of virtual Mars using .jp2 images from the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The HiRISE camera is designed to view surface features of Mars in greater detail than has previously been possible, making the heights of the terrain incredibly accurate.
‘You literally can’t get higher resolution terrain and image data from Mars, thanks to the half meter telescope on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE setup. We would need to send a Hubble sized telescope to orbit, or some type of aerial drone to map a portion of the surface.’ FirefoxG posted in Reddit recently.
Titled ‘Inside the inverted river bed in Gale crater’, the mapped area covers 25 square kilometers, and was made in only a few hours using the data from the .jp2 images, Blender and janusVR (a free virtual reality ‘metaverse’ builder).
To view the Mars room you need to use the janusVR software, which runs on Windows, Linux and OSX. The software lets you to see Mars in 2D on a traditional monitor, or in virtual reality using the Oculus Rift.
‘Inside the inverted river bed in Gale crater’ can be visited by pressing TAB in janusVR and typing http://www.bamvr.com/marsTemp/galeriverbed.html, and janusVR can be downloaded from www.janusvr.com