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Mars up close: A 3D visualisation portal

The Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Science


The Martian surface is peppered with over half a million large (>1 km diameter) and tens of millions of smaller impact craters. High-resolution surface imagery helps researchers better understand the processes sculpting Martian surface topography. The public release of a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter dataset will allow unprecedentedly detailed analysis of the Martian surface.

A team of researchers – led by Prof Benedix from the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences – partnered with the Curtin Institute for Computation (CIC) to develop a machine learning workflow that automatically detects impact craters on the Martian surface. This significantly larger compilation of tens of millions of impact craters has generated broad interest within the research community. However, given the scope and volume of the dataset, spanning the entire Martian surface, disseminating the results to the broader community in an ingestible format has led to a challenge; how to efficiently share and communicate these data sets?

Complex planetary datasets can be challenging to visualise with traditional 2D plots. So the CIC has again partnered with Prof Benedix and her team to develop an interactive portal to visualise the data on a 3D globe, providing researchers unencumbered access to this rich dataset of Martian craters.