Older Posts

I thought I’d clean up the blog a bit by moving some of my older posts to this spot, to make way for some new stuff on the front page.

Opportunity Sol1776 Ranger Crater

rangercraterOn Opportunity’s continuing journey to Endeavour Crater it will most certainly visit quite a few small ‘potholes’ along the road.

Here’s a little crater they’ve dubbed ‘Ranger’ (following the idea of naming craters after other sea/space ships of exploration).

This crater was encountered on Sol 1776. File is 2mb

Spirit Descends Homeplate

lg_hp_descentAfter a year perched on the north facing slope of a volcanic feature called ‘Home Plate’, the Mars Rover Spirit descended its face to continue its journey across Mars.

While this animated .gif makes it look like the Rover drove down a vast hill, in reality it was about a 2-metre drive.

Note: the animated gif is 2.5mb




Sol1721 – Opportunity

sol1721_lgI love this spot where the Mars Rover Opportunity is exploring at the moment.

The rock formations here are quite beautiful. The layering magnificent. How great would it be to to kneel down here and examine the place with your own eyes (albiet through a spacesuit helmet visor).

A nice view taken between Sols 1720 and 1721. (file 1.5mb)

The Great Storm

theduststorm2I was going through some files on my harddrive when I came across a SFX image I did during 2007 as a vast dust storm swept across Mars, blotting out most of the sunlight needed to keep the two Mars rovers – Spirit & Opportunity – alive. Of course, both rovers did survive the darkness and continue their journeys across the red planet.

I thought I’d drop the special effects image I did online. It incorporates elements of ‘real’ Earth dust storms and clouds with martain dunes and a SFX rover in place. I wanted to convey the vastness of the storm and the ominous darkness that the rovers faced. Note: File is 2mb

Sol1704 – Dusty Dunes

sol17041Opportunity’s cameras were hit hard with dust during a large storm in 2007 and as a consequence its images have suffered from a darkened right edge.

When blending different frames to create panoramas this leads to dark areas at the joins.

What I like to do is carefully take these dark joins out to produce a more pleasing view. There’s no way to make it perfect as you are really affecting the available image data, but I go for more visual impact than anything else when I do these images.

Sol1702 – Opportunity

sol1702aThe Mars Rover – Opportunity – continues its journey to Endeavour Crater on the Meridiani Plains of the red planet.

This view taken through the rovers Navigation Camera (navcam) depicts well the scene that we will be seeing for some time (some are saying between 1-2 years!).

I decided to play with that image a bit to take out the distortion for a more pleasing result.

I notice that a lot of people are generating views from Opportunity’s navcam images at the moment. It’s great to see all of the different interpretations.

One of the great things about this mission is the openess and availability of the data to the public and the fact that so many are enjoying the ‘journey’ and wanting to be involved in it – even if it is just manipulating photos to produce our own little piece of Mars.

I have taken the original images, stitched them together and colourised and enhanced the view with new sky, sun and clouds. (NB: File size 4.4mb)

Close to the Edge!

The Mars Exploration Rover ‘Opportunity’ has been covering a lot of ground lately getting ready for its big trek across the Meridiani Plains. As the rover rounds the capes and bays of its home of the past year – Victoria Crater – it continues to capture spectacular views of the region.

This latest view was taken on Sol1674 as Opportunity drove close to the edge of a steep bay.

Careful little rover!

Opportunity Departs Victoria!

Here’s a polar projection view of Victoria Crater taken by the NavCam on the Mars Rover Opportunity during Sol 1668. This view takes the normal images from the Rover and stiches them together and  projected into a 360° view. This gives the impression that you are floating above the Rover (which in this view is heavily distorted at the centre).







Phoenix Sees Pretty Lights!

Phoenix has been on Mars now for nearly 120 Sols. New images back from the lander craft showed the small LED lights on the robot cycling through their various filter colours. Other images showed the robot arm’s camera view of the main camera mast.

This got me thinking…”what might Phoenix be thinking as she stares at these blinking lights?”

Well, this animation gives you my warped opinion.


Opportunity is Endeavour Bound

Endeavour Crater

Principle Investigator on the Mars Exploration Rover mission, Steve Squyres has announced that the rover Opportunity will embark on an ambitious journey to the tentatively named crater Endeavour.

This bold move means that the rover will have to travel just about as far as it has already covered in the past 4 years and 8 months.

Rover drivers want to achieve an average of 100-metres per day across unknown territory. They will use high resolution images of the surface to be taken in early October by the HiRise camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.


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