UCL News


Rough guide to Mars

3 July 2006

Ever wanted to walk on Mars but just never had the multi-billion-dollar space programme to get you there? Well now you can experience Martian terrain without leaving Earth! UCL engineers have teamed up with the Open University and Imperial College to present the 'Rough Guide to Mars', an exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, which runs from 3-6 July 2006.

Ice on Mars?

UCL is providing a 'Geowall' consisting of a large polarised screen and two projectors held on a three-legged gantry (shaped like a Martian). The Geowall will enable virtual reality tours to four areas on the Martian surface using unique 3D models and terrain-corrected image mosaics created at UCL. A new 3D animation has also been created.

Professor Jan-Peter Muller, UCL Geomatic Engineering, said: "This is the first time that 3D tours of another planetary surface have been exhibited anywhere in the world which allow the visitor to move down to the surface in 3D and make scientific measurements."

The exhibit will also consist of a large graphic pop-up display, a Mars meteorite, a 3D 1x1m lenticular stereo picture, and a scale model of the European Space Agency (ESA) Mars Express.

The 'Rough Guide to Mars' will be located in the Royal Society's library. It promises to be an out-of-this-world experience.

Image 1: These huge fractured rafts are thought to be the remains of ice floes that once drifted on the surface of a sea near the equator of Mars. Image ©ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G Neukum)

Image 2: Originally interpreted as lava channels, these overlapping elongated pits with sinuous channels are now thought to have been formed by underground flow of water at different levels. Warm water beneath the surface of Mars is a possible abode for life. Image ©ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G Neukum)