I have been spending
some far too much time this past day looking intently at at the absolutely phenomenal sub-meter resolution images taken by the HiRES camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which are freely available for download. The full-resolution JPEG2000 files are whoppers: Some of them easily scale 250MB and half a gigapixel, so if you need an excuse to buy a new computer, this is it.
If your computer can handle them, then do spend some time exploring the library of images — it is the most impressive thing I’ve come across this year, and I’ve been making desktop backgrounds of particularly striking imagery all morning. If you’ve got a 1920×1200 screen, here are some examples (click to download):
(Aside: You won’t see craters with dunes in them on the Moon because the moon has no atmosphere.)
I love it when publicly funded science makes the results available to all. And I cannot wait until this imagery shows up on a virtual globe, with DEMs — will there be a proper Google Mars, or will NASA World Wind have the plugin? (Until then, might the Maps-based Google Mars not make for a good georeferencing solution for the HiRISE image metadata?)
(BTW, Mars has a new mystery. Is this where the Martians are biding their time?:-)