‘The Martian’ is currently topping box offices worldwide and igniting imaginations about the possibility of when, rather than if, humans will ever set foot on Mars.
The tale of astronaut Mark Watney’s battle to survive on the Red Planet after being stranded alone during a manned expedition in 2035 is so convincing, many viewers were willing to confess they thought it was a true story.
However, a lot of the science Watney employs to survive is real. As is a scene involving rocket fuel and an explosive fireball.
The other part of the movie that is real — or, to be precise, realistic, are the incredible panoramas of Mars. While they were shot in a Middle Eastern desert, their beauty is equally matched by actual counterparts on the planet itself.
German Aerospace Center DLR specialise in producing accurate topographical maps of Mars using stereo image data acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board European Space Agency’s MarsExpress spacecraft.
Because they can, they’ve reproduced what Watney’s actual journey would look like using a dataset of 7300 stereo images covering roughly two-and-a-half million square kilometres of Martian landscape.
Here’s the map:
And here’s the movie. Check it out:
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