New 4K Video Takes You on a High-Res Tour of the Martian Landscape

The folks over at ElderFox Documentaries have put together a “world’s first.” Using ultra-high resolution photo mosaics captured by NASA’s various Mars Rovers over the years, they’ve created a 4K UHD ‘tour’ of the Martian landscape.

The “world’s first” designation is admittedly a bit of a stretch (and the narrator is a bit much…) but the resulting video amounts to a stunning 4K slide show that covers the most beautiful and detailed imagery that has ever been sent home from the red planet. It’s also the closest we’ll get to seeing 4K video of Mars for some time, because as Elderfox explains:

Although the cameras are high quality, the rate at which the rovers can send data back to earth is the biggest challenge. Curiosity can only send data directly back to earth at 32 kilo-bits per second.

When the rover can connect to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we get more favourable speeds of 2 Megabytes per second. However, this link is only available for about 8 minutes each Sol, or Martian day.

As you would expect, sending HD video at these speeds would take a long long time. As nothing really moves on Mars, it makes more sense to take and send back images.

We’ve shared some of these images in the past—you can see the highest-resolution pano ever captured on Mars at this link—but this is the first time we’ve shared them all together in one high-resolution “journey” across the Martian landscape. Check out the full video up top to see it for yourself and learn more about how these images were captured, stitched together, and sent back to Earth from (at minimum) 33.9 million miles away.

(via Colossal)