Monday, 26 Jul, 2010 Science
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NASA Unveiled a Very Accurate Map of Mars

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The 21,000 pictures collected from the Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System, NASA used to create an extremely detailed map of the red planet.

The map in its full resolution can be downloaded by those who have powerful computers and software able to handle pictures, each having about a gigabyte. You can download the full-resolution-map here.

The photographs have been smoothed, matched, blended and then "cartographically controlled" in order to obtain a huge mosaic, mentioned Philip Christensen, director of the Mars Space Flight Facility.

It would be interesting to note that at full zoom, the smallest details of the surface of Mars are 330 feet wide. "While portions of Mars have been mapped at higher resolution, this map provides the most accurate view so far of the entire planet," said Christensen.

Researchers also managed to link the pictures to the cartographic control grid offered by the US Geological Survey. Thus they were able to remove all instrument distortion. In the end they obtained a map where "the features on the ground are correctly located to within a few pixels."

It is worth mentioning that the Mars Odyssey was launched back in April of 2001. The spacecraft reached Mars in October 2001, reports TG Daily

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