While your MARS Pro model is colored red just like the planet itself, the MARS Pro AR experience on the AstroReality App contains the potential for a much more colorful experience. When using the app, you can hit the button labeled ‘Normal’ on the bottom of the screen and load a rainbow-colored map of the elevations of Mars.
This is a topographic map, showing you the highs and lows of the planet. This is how we know that Olympus Mons is the tallest volcano in the Solar System and that Meridiani Planum is one of the flattest. We can measure the depths of craters and canyons and the heights of mountains and polar caps. All this knowledge and beauty was the result of a very special space laser.
The 1997 mission, Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), became the first satellite to orbit Mars since the 1970s and carried a laser to map the planet’s surface. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument shined a laser at the surface of Mars 10 times a second and counted down till it saw the reflection. This timing and detailed knowledge of the spacecraft’s orbit allowed for the detailed calculation of the elevation of the surface.
Billions of laser shots later, the first global, high-resolution map of the surface topography of Mars was created. We then mapped the elevations to colors, low is blue, high is red to white, to help our eyes see the range. This map is available to scientists trying to unlock the secrets of the Martian past, engineers trying to land spacecraft in the nooks and crannies of the planet and now available to you on the MARS Pro AR App experience.
Get your favorite MARS Pro model with 20% OFF today on our website, and embark on your Mars exploration while learning at home now.