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Playing with Mars elevation data

Despite with this situation in that so many people from our world is confined, I can´t stop of create and experimenting with new things. I have lucky because for my situation now, is an amazing opportunity to learn and share knowledge. So I was thinking that maybe i will posting more of my current creative experiments and explorations, that usually can be a primer aproximation of a final piece in the future.

On this experiment, i was using the elevation data captured by reconnaissance satellites and open to the public by this NASA site called Trek. i was trying to recreate a person’s point of view on the surface of Mars. So, for this purpose, we need to bring all available data to a human scale.


Link -> https://trek.nasa.gov/


Here you can find a lot of information about some objects from our solar system and get tons of data from it surfaces. Its amazing because you can select areas and trace lines to get this data in diferent formats such a csv files or stl files to print on 3d printer machine. Using the tools of the site, I drew a line to obtain the elevation data of an incredible and famous place on Mars, called Valles Marineris. A large canyon that crosses a part of the Martian equatorial line and whose dimensions are difficult to imagine with earth references. In fact, this valley is the deepest known canyon in our solar system.


Valles Marineris -> https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valles_Marineris


And here the first results:

Disclaimer: My intention is not to perform calculations in a scientific way, it is only an approximation to play with these data. I am sure that you can become much more precise.

And here the basic steps on the NASA site:

And here, we have the STL file loaded in blender to observe and modify all the elevation data. Amazing 😉

So, with Unity platform, I loaded this model as terrain in a very basic way and also added afterwards a character that I could control, lights and all this 3D stuff. Finally, by using the camera objects with his point of view and calculating the dimensions (terrain measurements, character measurements and the camera aperture, etc.) I was able to get a rough visual idea, regarding the scale, of how it could feeling as human in that place. Obviously I don’t care about the precision, it’s just an experiment to check the possibilities.