7 April 2012

Pretty Picture: Huygens Crater

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Check out what I made today:

MOLA topography overlaid on the THEMIS daytime infrared mosaic. The view is centered on Huygens Crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars. (Click to embiggen. Note all of the valley networks in the embiggened version. Contact me if you want an even higher-res version!)

Actually, I can’t really take much credit. I am starting up a new project using ArcGIS*, and I got this pretty picture by just downloading the global topography and daytime infrared datasets from this USGS page. It’s extremely gratifying to download datasets and have them just automatically be aligned and map projected properly. I spent a lot of time today just zooming around Mars and admiring the beautiful data.

Of course, then I stumbled across this article begging NASA scientists to stop using rainbow color scales. But I don’t care what they say, none of the other color scales look right. I guess this blue-red scale is alright, and certainly more friendly for color-blind viewers:

*When I finished my Gale crater project a couple years ago I swore to never use ArcGIS again. It has a steep learning curve and many, many idiosyncrasies, and in my experience, it is prone to crashing. But it’s also very powerful and commonly used, which means that there is a lot of support for it and add-ins available. Plus, now that I work for the USGS, I have direct access to some ArcGIS whizzes who are helping me deal with the tricky aspects of the program. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be ready to swear off of it again at the end of this new project…