Mars Express doesn’t get a lot of love, all things considered. It’s main camera, HRSC, has the ability to fill in with elevation model resolution somewhere in-between old MOLA elevation, and the amazing, but limited HiRISE DEM’s seen here previously. Courtesy of a script posted at the HRSC View website - http://hrscview.fu-berlin.de/ - it is possible to turn the calibrated data into a format that is useful for animation, which is what I’ve been trying over the last year or so. Below, are three of my favorites to date. They still need work - the data can look prettier than this given some effort, but as a proof of concept and a means of visualising Mars, they’re great fun!
This is two HRSC observations - Orbits 334 and 360 - over Valles Marineris. This place makes the Grand Canyon look like a scratch. The scale and vertical exaggeration are still a work in progress - at this stage, it’s just a case of looking at something interesting.
East of Ganges Chasma, this chaotic terrain is near Aureum Chaos and struck me as a great place to animate, as the cliff faces can ‘hide’ the edges of the DEM quite well!
This is another chunk of Valles Marineris that works very well with HRSC. Calibration of HRSC colour is a challenge, but this came out looking beautiful and dynamic without it.
HRSC isn’t the highest resolution camera at Mars, nor does it produce the best elevation data - but at each different scale we look at Mars, we learn something new. At this scale, grand geological processes such as impacts, canyons, volcanos and other things that Planets might classify as life changing events, snap into view in a way that we might enjoy them were we fortunate enough to by flying over them in orbit around Mars.