Projects / Mars MOLA Viewer

Mars MOLA Viewer

Mars MOLA Viewer displays a fly-over rendering of the Martian surface, as measured by the Mars Global Surveyor, in real-time 3D animation. It downloads the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter topographic data files and uses them to drive the rendering. The user controls the position and the angle of the camera, and can move seamlessly over the entire Martian surface from -88 to 88 degrees latitude. It is a Java Web Start program with 1-click installation from your browser (depending on platform/browser).

Operating Systems

Recent releases

  •  04 Aug 2006 17:13

    Release Notes: Mars MOLA Viewer now incorporates a Mars clock so the real time 3D terrain renders show the sun and lighting appropriately for your location, season, and time: you can watch the sun rise or set on Mars, and see the sun shift with the changing seasons. See the landscape as it would appear now, or at the date and time of your choice. A new bookmark feature helps you remember points of interest and return for further exploration. There's new support for Linux running native on AMD-64, as well as Linux and Windows on i386.

    •  19 Apr 2005 20:53

      Release Notes: The default data download URL has changed to reflect a new location of the MEGDR data files (the files had become inaccessible to some clients from the old location). The Mars MOLA Viewer home page has been updated to include a guide for configuring different browsers with Java Web Start.

      •  16 Apr 2004 20:40

        Release Notes: Previous releases exaggerated the vertical scale of the rendered terrain. This version makes this "feature" adjustable: you can see the terrain with its true vertical scale, or pick a level of exaggeration that suits you. Other changes make terrain rendering faster on most video cards. The launch page has been fixed to make it friendlier to non-IE and non-Mozilla browsers. The user documentation is more thorough.

        •  18 Feb 2004 18:25

          Release Notes: The Martian terrain is now displayed on the surface of a sphere, so there is a horizon correct for the camera altitude and scale remains correct even if you move the camera north or south a long distance. The following bugs were fixed: a crash bug on ATI and nVidia cards, some visual artifacts, and sometimes you were unable to see the data in a file you just downloaded without restarting the program. Note that the updated version will be downloaded automatically the next time you start the program.


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