Monday, February 05, 2007



The sun setting over Mars, taken by the rover, Spirit,
from NASA.

The IMAX movie Roving Mars takes us up close and on a huge screen to the surface of Mars. It makes a nice companion to the book, Roving Mars, by Steve Squyers, the principal scientist for the mission. It shows visually and viscerally what it means to create a robotic cart that will roll around on Mars, and then explore this alien (next door) world.

The film could be longer (it's a short 40 min) and it could do a better job of distinguishing between images that are simulations, those that are constructed from real images but with lots of processing, and those that are taken directly by the cameras on the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Since the commentary is spare, the film might also be even more interesting and understandable to see after reading Squyer's book.

The great thing about this film is that it is the closest we'll get to the Martian soil for many years, and it's beautiful and thrilling!

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