Ever Wondered What Final Approach To Mars Might Feel Like?

We’ve posted several ‘flyover’ videos of Mars that use data from spacecraft. But this video might be the most spectacular and realistic. Created by filmmaker Jan Fröjdman from Finland, “A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars” uses actual data from the venerable HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and takes you on a 3-D tour over steep cliffs, high buttes, amazing craters, polygons and other remarkable land forms. But Fröjdman also adds a few features reminiscent of the landing videos taken by the Apollo astronauts. Complete with crosshatches and thruster firings, this video puts you on final approach to land on (and then take off from) Mars’ surface.

(Hit ‘fullscreen’ for the best viewing)

To create the video, Fröjdman used 3-D anaglyph images from HiRISE (High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment), which contain information about the topography of Mars surface and then processed the images into panning video clips.

Fröjdman told Universe Today he worked on this video for about three months.

“The most time consuming was to manually pick the more than 33,000 reference points in the anaglyph images,” he said via email. “Now when I count how many steps there were in total in the process, I come to seven and I needed at least 6 different kinds of software.”

A new impact crater that was formed between July 2010 and May 2012, as seen by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This image is part of “A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars” by Jan Fröjdman. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

Fröjdman, a landscape photographer and audiovisual expert, said he wanted to create a video that gives you the feeling “that you are flying above Mars looking down watching interesting locations on the planet,” he wrote on Vimeo. “And there are really great places on Mars! I would love to see images taken by a landscape photographer on Mars, especially from the polar regions. But I’m afraid I won’t see that kind of images during my lifetime.”

Between HiRISE and the Curiosity rover images, we have the next best thing to a human on Mars. But maybe one day…

Fröjdman has previously posted other space-related videos, including video and images of the Transit of Venus in 2012 he took from an airplane, and a lunar eclipse in 2011.

A FICTIVE FLIGHT ABOVE REAL MARS from Jan Fröjdman on Vimeo.

6 Replies to “Ever Wondered What Final Approach To Mars Might Feel Like?”

  1. Great video.. begs the question: Where to land? Jan Fröjdman’s work may help answer that question.. In this video I saw dozens if not hundreds of interesting spots! Great work Jan.. more would be good.

    Saw a video the other day that chatted this prospect up. Scientists are looking at MRO data and other and are actively asking this question. Me? Hand’s down it would be in the Hellas Planita region. There, I’d look for hot mineral springs or fossil remnants thereof..


    1. I mean.. what’s not to like other than the difficulty reaching the right orbit for a landing? This deep crater has a very low elevation providing for denser atmospheric conditions which would help with landing, probable deep fissures due to the impact containing deeply fractured conduits for magma upwelling with possibly associated hot springs on or near the surface.

      Come on! Let’s send a drone if nothing else to check out the northwestern deep spots?

  2. I don’t know what others saw, but for me, I had to wonder what was so good about the pictures?
    Just looked like the same pictures as shown many times.
    Nothing special from what I saw.

    Many were, first a bad picture, then a photo of what it really looks like.
    Way to many images where crater and channel depressions looked like raised areas. Craters looked like pancakes every where.

    I just did not see any thing that looked like it took “about three months” to do. No flyby, just still photos that shifted. Some times for the better, but mostly just still pictures that made no changes.
    Flyby, to me would mean an animation or video, not just photos.

    That’s my opinion on the subject.


    1. They aren’t shifted still images. They are derived from 3D-containing data that allows the viewing from different positions; 3:11 is a rather clear example that these aren’t just stills. My problem is a certain distorted pseudo-depth quality. I found the beeping and buzzing annoying as well. Who let the bugs in my spacecraft?

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