A Look at “Living Mars”

Living-Mars With the confirmation that Mars with once home to oceans and rivers, and with speculation that a terraformed Mars will once again, there are many who wonder what a “Blue Mars” would look like. As it happens, a software engineer named Kevin Gill took it upon himself to create a series of images showing what a “living Mars” might look like.

Relying on his own imagination and a series of combined source material, the Red Planet gets a makeover, with aesthetically pleasing results! In an interview via email, Gill said the following of his process:

“This was something that I did both out of curiosity of what it would look like and to improve the software I was rendering this in. I am a software engineer by trade and certainly no planetary scientist, so with the exception of any parts derived from actual data, most of it is assumptions I made based on simply comparing the Mars terrain to similar features here on Earth (e.g. elevation, proximity to bodies of water, physical features, geographical position, etc) and then using the corresponding textures from the Blue Marble images to paint the flat image layer in a graphics program.”

Living-Mars.2For example, the view above is of the western hemisphere of Mars, with Olympus Mons on the horizon beyond the Tharsis Montes volcanoes and the Valles Marineris canyons near the center. The placement of clouds and the atmosphere was mainly to achieve a sense of scale and grandeur, but the rest is in keeping with information obtained by NASA over the years.

And these are just some of the images Gill has made over the years. His Flickr is awash in visualizations, many of which are of Mars, the Moon, and of course Earth, all of which are rendered from orbit. He also makes 3D models of geographic features, which comes in handy when its time to construct large-scale models.

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