Images of Mars in 3D Created Through Mueller Planetarium

Released on 04/01/2004, at 12:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., April 1st, 2004 —

Lincoln, Neb., April 1, 2004 -- With the success of the Mars Exploration Rovers, interest has remained high at planetariums such as Ralph Mueller Planetarium in the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln.

Mueller Planetarium is one of some 110 museums and planetariums across the country that are part of the Mars Visualization Alliance, created by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's outreach offices to help these public facilities bring the excitement of Mars exploration to visitors.

In many cases, images taken by the rover cameras are in right and left pairs, which can be processed into anaglyphs for viewing in three dimensions using red/cyan glasses. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has processed some images, but many haven't been done yet simply because of the staggering amount of work to be accomplished with the still-operating rovers.

Thanks to Mueller Planetarium volunteer Rick Johnson, however, planetarium visitors are able to seen more than 60 anaglyphs in 3D that were not previously released in that format by JPL. Johnson used free image processing software on his home computing system to create the images, which were an immediate hit with audiences across the country, according to Jack Dunn, coordinator of Mueller Planetarium, and JPL Informal Education Lead Anita Sohus, a Scottsbluff native.

"Our objective is to get the images and information out to the museums and planetariums as soon as we get them, to allow each organization to do what they do best," Sohus said. "The Mueller Planetarium got interested in making anaglyphs and is sharing them not only with their audiences but with the rest of the partners. Such sharing is what the alliance is all about."

Johnson's 3D images will featured at Mueller Planetarium shows at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April.

"Mars photos lack most of the features we use on Earth pictures to judge distance and size. Converting the images to 3D gives a better picture of what you are really seeing," Johnson said. "I wanted to see what the landscape was really like and discovered it easy to make 3D images with free software available on the Net. I hope others enjoy seeing them as much as I do making them."

CONTACT: Jack Dunn, Coordinator, Mueller Planetarium, (402) 472-2641