“The Martian” – Mark Watney Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

“The Martian” – Mark Watney
Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

Every step you take!

Thanks to Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) you can view the steps of NASA astronaut Mark Watney in the new movie blockbuster: “The Martian.”

DLR experts typically use their talents producing highly accurate topographical maps of Mars.

The route that Mark Watney in “The Martian” had to take to have a chance of being rescued is thousands of miles long. He had to abandon his Mars station in Chryse Planitia and go through Mawrth Vallis (right of centre) in the Martian highlands. By the way, Mawrth Vallis is one of the potential choices for the landing module of the ESA ExoMars mission. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The route that Mark Watney in “The Martian” had to take to have a chance of being rescued is thousands of miles long. He had to abandon his Mars station in Chryse Planitia and go through Mawrth Vallis (right of centre) in the Martian highlands.
By the way, Mawrth Vallis is one of the potential choices for the landing module of the ESA ExoMars mission.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Spectacular Mars terrain

But this time they reconstructed Watney’s route using stereo image data acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft.

They then compiled this data into a 3D film that shows the spectacular landscape that the protagonist would see “in the future.”

Maps of this kind are the foundation of all scientific work relating to Mars.

The route of 'The Martian' - from Chryse Planitia over Arabia Terra in the Martian highlands to Ares 4.  Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The route of ‘The Martian’ – from Chryse Planitia over Arabia Terra in the Martian highlands to Ares 4.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 

Schiaparelli Crater

For almost 12 years, the DLR Institute of Planetary Research has been using image data acquired by HRSC to produce digital terrain models of the surface of Mars. The Berlin-based DLR Institute is a world leader in the field of planetary surveying and mapping.

In the movie, astronaut Watney endeavors to reach the Ares 4 rocket that NASA had “parked” in Schiaparelli Crater and to use it to leave Mars.

DLR scientists recently presented a broad swath of this terrain – roughly two-and-a-half million square kilometers of precisely mapped landscape that covers the areas described.

This data was released as part of a project to map the entire surface of Mars.

 

The last hurdle for Mark Watney in the hit movie, “The Martian” - the edge of Schiaparelli crater. Schiaparelli crater is located in the eastern Terra Meridiani region of the equator of Mars. This topographical map shows that the terrain is steep in places and therefore, dangerous for ‘The Martian’ Mark Watney and his fragile vehicle. Based on topographical data, he had to find the least steep route possible.  Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The last hurdle for Mark Watney in the hit movie, “The Martian” – the edge of Schiaparelli crater. Schiaparelli crater is located in the eastern Terra Meridiani region of the equator of Mars. This topographical map shows that the terrain is steep in places and therefore, dangerous for ‘The Martian’ Mark Watney and his fragile vehicle. Based on topographical data, he had to find the least steep route possible.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 Travel map

“Thanks to this animation, we have even noticed a few new details that we had not seen in a larger spatial context,” explains Ralf Jaumann from the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Principal Investigator for the High Resolution Stereo Camera.

“That is why we made the film – it helps everyone see what it would be like for Watney to travel through these areas… the clouds were the only creative touches we added, because, fortunately, they do not appear in the HRSC data.”

Take a video view of this unique product at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opg6x4IKE3Y

Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

Update:

Stranded astronaut Mark Watney spends most of his time at the “Ares 3” site in southern Acidalia Planitia. The book describes Acidalia as flat and easy to drive over; he even drives to the Pathfinder landing site and back.

This region of Mars is actually far more diverse, interesting, and hazardous to drive over than depicted in the novel.

Views of several sites, and other locations pertinent to the fictional story, are in the latest weekly release of images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

They are available online at http://uahirise.org/martian

Or go to:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2015-309

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