Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) allow scientists to ‘stand’ on planetary surfaces. Although ordinary images can give spectacular bird’s-eye views, they can only convey part of the picture. They miss out on the topography, or the vertical elevation of the surroundings. That’s where Mars Express comes in.
The HRSC was especially designed to provide this information and, after years of specialised data processing, the first comprehensive release of 3D data of a large part of the martian surface is now ready. “Understanding the topography of Mars is essential to understanding its geology,” says Prof. Gerhard Neukum, Freie Universität (FU) Berlin, Germany, Principal Investigator for the HRSC.
The DTM can instantly tell researchers the slope of hillsides or the height of cliffs, the altitude and slope of lava flows or desert plains. “This data is essential for understanding how water or lava flowed across Mars,” says Neukum.
It also helps planetary scientists to better interpret other data sets, for example the results of the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS). “Once we know where the surface is, we can correctly interpret the radar echoes we get from below it,” says former ESA scientist Angelo Rossi, a member of the HRSC team.
The Mars Express DTM is the most detailed topographic data set ever released for Mars. Its release has been made possible by processing individual image swaths taken by the HRSC as Mars Express sweeps through its orbit. The individual swaths are then put together into mosaics that cover large regions. The high-resolution images used have a resolution of 10 m/pixel. The DTM elevation data derived from these images is provided in pixels of up to 50 m, with a height accuracy of 10 m.
The orbit of Mars Express determines the resolution of its pictures. When it is closest to the surface, it can take the most detailed pictures. “As the mission continues, we are gradually filling in the gaps and collecting high-resolution data whenever possible,” says Neukum.
The team plans to add more data to the DTMs to extend the surface coverage as Mars Express continues its mission until at least 2009 and HRSC continues its unique scrutiny of the planet.
Agustin Chicarro | alfa
Researchers discover surprising quantum effect in hard disk drive material
26.04.2019 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Unprecedented insight into two-dimensional magnets using diamond quantum sensors
26.04.2019 | Universität Basel
For the first time, physicists at the University of Basel have succeeded in measuring the magnetic properties of atomically thin van der Waals materials on the nanoscale. They used diamond quantum sensors to determine the strength of the magnetization of individual atomic layers of the material chromium triiodide. In addition, they found a long-sought explanation for the unusual magnetic properties of the material. The journal Science has published the findings.
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The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.
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Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
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