Let’s go hang-gliding on Mars!

Nasa has come up with the ultimate in adventure sports – hang-gliding on Mars. And you can try it yourself in total safety because soaring over the Martian surface is purely a virtual experience.

Opportunity siteSpace scientists have simulated the experience thanks to detailed images from the latest space probe to orbit the Red Planet, Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.

The craft’s high-resolution camera, HiRISE, imaged the landing sites of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity for many different angles.

That gave them the detailed, three-dimensional information to create artificial animations that create the illusion of flying around above the Martian surface.

One of the animations sends you soaring over the spectacular, half-mile wide Victoria Crater in Mars’ Meridiani Planum region. As you fly, you can see the rover Opportunity perched on the crater’s edge.

Spirit siteThe second animation is made up of images of the Columbia Hills region inside Gusev Crater. Nasa’s second rover, Spirit, has been trundling around this range of hills.
The two robot rovers landed on Mars in January 2004.

To view the animations, scroll down to “Other videos” on this page at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Images: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/U.S. Geological Survey.

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Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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