Austrian experts provide new insights into the surface of Mars

A team of experts from the Image Analysis and Measurement Systems research group at Joanneum Research evaluates the persistance images and compiles the captured images into a 3D model. The technology was developed by Joanneum Research. Only a few days after the landing, the employees of the JR and the Vienna Research Center for Virtual Reality and Visualization (VRVis) presented the first approximately one and a half minute video – which simulates a flight over the surface of Mars at the landing site of the Mars rover. It was made from around 100 pairs of images from the stereo cameras on the rover mast Mastcam Z created and can now also be seen on YouTube, as Paar reported. The Austrian evaluations primarily support the 3D measurements of geological researchers. More than 20 overflight videos have been created so far, as Paar described.

The stream of high-resolution 3D images that are called up every day has not stopped since then. “The rover has traveled about 13 kilometers so far, from the landing site to a southern formation, then back to the landing site and for a few months now in the river delta formed millions of years ago,” said Paar. The images taken by the camera so far have shown a variety of terrain types: “From dunes to mountain ridges with abrupt breaks. In the latter you can see outcrops, i.e. exposures of geological formations,” summarized Paar.

The images recorded by the cameras are sent to Earth via a satellite cluster known as the Deep Space Network. “The data is automatically fetched daily from the Arizona State University server,” said Paar. The data analysis itself must be carried out quickly so that the rover can be assigned new tasks and no valuable time is lost on site.

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