This interactive lets you search for features on Mars and on Earth. Spin the globes, and click on a feature when you find it. For help you can try coloring the globe by elevation, or stretching features to make mountains taller.

About 600kb for high res, 200kb for low res: opens in new window.
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Launch Interactive (high-res)

Launch Interactive (low-res)

Image of Interactive


How'd we do it?

The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has several instruments on it. Two are imagers that take pictures of the planet. Another is MOLA: the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter. MOLA bounces a laser off Mars and records the time it takes to return to the spacecraft. From that it can calculate its distance to the planet to within a bit over a foot. MOLA does this over and over, methodically mapping out the surface of the planet.

The MOLA science team has used that data to create an elevation map of Mars. And that can be used to create a 3D model of the planet. Images from the orbiting cameras are then draped over that mesh to create a 3D globe.

Explore more

MOLA at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Mars Global Surveyor at JPL


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