A Human Bird’s Eye View of Mars


There have been several proposals to send people to Mars but not land them on the surface. Instead, they would either fly by Mars once and return to Earth or orbit Mars for a period of time. Would they at least get spectacular naked-eye views of the Martian surface? In this example from the Nili Patera region of Mars is a candidate future landing site. At the top is an approximation of the natural color as seen by people with normal color vision almost no surface detail is visible. However, with an infrared-red-blue/green part of the image, we can stretch that color band to give the scene more contrast, followed by color saturation enhancement. Now we can see a diversity of colors that distinguish different surface units: dust, sand, and rocks with different minerals.

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