A new interactive map of Mars has been released online, where anyone can find rocks, impact craters and storm tracks in amazing detail.
The map was created from 110,000 images taken by the black-and-white Context Camera (CTX) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
This is the most detailed map ever created with the highest resolution (25 square meters per pixel). It was created by the scientists of the Bruce Murray Planetary Visualization Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology over the course of six years.
To create the map, the team developed an algorithm that automatically combined the photos based on the details of the surface depicted in them. However, 13,000 photos that the algorithm could not process, experts had to manually attach to the map.
The map is so detailed that it has already been cited in more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific articles. At the same time, the map is simple enough that anyone can understand how to use it.
Beneath the new map are buttons that allow you to quickly find popular locations such as Gale Crater and Jezero Crater, which are being explored by NASA's Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. One can also manually rotate the 3D image of the planet and view points of interest.
However, there are gaps in the map: these are the parts of the planet that were not captured by CTX when work on this project had already begun. Areas covered by clouds or dust are also not visible on the map.