imageStuart and I actually had a little argument over who got to write this blog post, because it’s just so cool.

Many of you are familiar with the WorldWide Telescope from Microsoft Research – the FREE application that lets you take advantage of NASA photos from land and space-based telescopes to give you incredible pictures of the night sky. (And much, much more…)

Now the good folks from MS Research have added over 13,000 photos taken from NASA spacecraft exploring Mars. These provide images of Mars the likes of which we – and our students – have never seen before. As our VP of Research Tony Hey says on the Mars video, these new photos and technology allow students to actually “go for a walk on Mars,” and see the landscape and scale in a way they never could have done before.

Here’s what the new Mars features have to offer.image

  • A True-Colour Map of Mars. The surface map of Mars has been built and colour-corrected to match modern estimates of the appearance of Mars.  It is made up of images taken from a variety of NASA’s Mars spacecraft, including the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • 3-D Rendering of the Surface. Visitors to the WorldWide Telescope can now have the experience of flying though a 3-D rendering of Victoria Crater and Olympus Mons – the lowest valley and highest peak in our solar system - and can experience firsthand the extreme elevation and intricate features of the Martian surface.
  • Exclusive Interactive Tours. Microsoft Research is providing a set of exclusive interactive Mars tours, including an overview of the WWT Mars experience and Mars’ moons. NASA is also publishing two Mars tours by noted NASA scientists, Drs. James Garvin and Carol Stoker.

If you haven’t checked out WorldWide Telescope yet, download it HERE and have a play (or better yet, let your students have a play) now.