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Mars interactive map lets you roam with Diligence

If you’ve ever wanted to travel to Mars and hike with the Perseverance rover, now’s your chance. Researchers have created an interactive map of Mars’ Jezero Crater, which lets you travel around the planet’s surface and follow the path of the explorer.

The interactive map shows data such as topography, contour lines, and rover paths as well as the current position within the crater. There are also marked panoramic views so you can zoom in and appreciate the 360-degree view of the Martian landscape.

Virtual view from above the western delta towards the crater. HiRISE/CTX/HRSC

The map was presented at the Euro 2022 Planetary Science Congress by Sebastian Walter of the Freie Universität Berlin.

“This map is the perfect tool for planning future visits to Mars, with an interactive interface where you can choose from a variety of available basic data sets,” Walter said in a statement. “Some of the slopes are quite steep, so be careful if you want to avoid consuming too much oxygen! To get a feel for what to expect from your future Mars journey, you can click on one of the waypoint symbols to enter a full-screen 3D view or, if you have Virtual Reality settings, to enter a fully immersive environment. You can even hear the rover’s sound if you stand nearby.”

The data for the map is a combination of data recorded by Perseverance, such as images from its Mastcam-Z camera and sounds from its SuperCam instrument, and data taken from the orbiter that forms the base layer of the map. This orbital data comes from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, both of which were used to capture high-resolution images of the surface.

The map was originally designed for professional scientists, according to Walter, but as they added more data, the research team realized that it would be nice to have access to the public too.

“Initially we created the Jezero map as an outreach application to complement the HRSC Mapserver tool, which supports professional scientists to explore the Martian surface,” said Walter. “But as the rover returns more and more high-resolution image data and even audio recordings, it turns out to be the perfect tool for in-depth visualization of that data in a scientific context on its own.”

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