Mars 3D - Virtual Red Planet is a visualization of the data captured by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The input for the VRML 3D Mars model is taken from the 1/128 MOLA data set published by NASA. The 1/128 MOLA data set is a digital elevation model (DEM) of planet Mars with a horizontal grid spacing of approximately 28 arc seconds (less than 1 kilometer / about a quarter mile).
Mars 3D - Virtual Red Planet also displays planetary feature location information of about 1500 places derived from the USGS Mars Nomenclature data set. This data set is provided here with a searchable index, you can search for any planetary feature mentioned in the USGS Mars Nomenclature data set.
The NASA Rover "Spirit" Landing Site: GUSEV CRATER, latitude 14 36 S, longitude 175 24 E.
The ESA Beagle 2 Landing Site: ISIDIS PLANITIA.  There is also a screenshot of the site:
Enter the name of a feature on Mars and SEARCH for it:
Or enter the latitude and longitude
of a place in degrees and hit SUBMIT:
Enter Mars 3D - Virtual Red Planet as a blaxxun multi-user world, this requires blaxxun Contact.
|Gusev Crater||Martian "River"||Orson Welles Crater||Ius Chasma|
|Ius Chasma||Beagle 2 Site||Geryon Montes|
|2.2 MB||3.5 MB, 10.5 MB||2.6 MB|
|Rover Spirit Site||Sfax Crater||Valles Marineris|
|2.6 MB||6.6 MB, 8.8 MB||5 MB, 17 MB|
This original piece of music was specially composed for the project Mars 3D - Virtual Red Planet by Robert G Stein.
Note: For performance reasons I took the music out from Mars 3D - Virtual Red Planet, you can listen to it if you have a powerfull machine and click on the Mars 3D with music link.
E.g. the cgi request url mars?TPL=mars/tilemars&LAT=480000N&LON=0120000E fetches the data of one tile located at 48 North, 12 degrees East.
Seriously, I did this project and similar ones like the 3D Earth or Bavaria 3D for fun and I enjoyed them very much, so if you have a data set that promises to show something new I am more than happy to collaborate.
If you move too fast or your internet connection is too slow you will notice that the tiles are not loaded underneath or in front of you. Stop moving and wait a little while in this case.
The program reads a 64 by 64 elevation point square with the given location at the upper left corner from the MOLA data.
Next the program assigns the color values to the points. Hilltops, slopes and valleys get different color values, the algorithm is rather complex, heuristic, unscientific and from me. ;-)
Last the program prints a VRML template and fills the heights and color values into an ElevationGrid with colorPerVertex color. The resulting VRML file gets gzip'ed on the fly and then sent on its way to your browser.
In order to display the entire scene the program gets called with a request
to print the main world first.
/cgi-bin/mars?TPL=mars/mars&LAT=480000N&LON=0120000E. This uses a different VRML template for the main world. The main world VRML in turn calles the program 9 times to print the 9 subtiles.
The main world VRML also contains the code that loads the tiles needed while you walk around. This code is written in VRML script.
The GeoVrml examples page.
Mars 3D - Virtual Red Planet has been selected by WEB3DART 2004, category scientific models.
Credit for the MOLA image goes to:
Thank you to Google for their wonderful search engine.
Special thanks to Holger Grahn for writing the best VRML browser and for support on VRML questions.
copyright C 2003 - 2007 by Peter Graf