If Mars had a Division of Tourism, that organization would be plastering the European Space Agency’s new video all over the Internet. The film is a compilation of high-res images from the Mars Express mission — in orbit around the Red Planet — the quality of which should make the National Security Agency jealous. The four minutes of footage that make up “Mars Showcase” show a planet pocked by craters and smoothed by rivers and lava flows.
The mission, launched in June 2003, arrived in its current orbit mid-December of the same year. In the 10 years since, it’s whipped around Mars 12,500 times, snapping enough detailed images that scientists now can (or could, if they wanted to) construct topographic globes in their basement workshops.
So check out “Mars Showcase” and get a close-up view of its most stunning spots. Or, as I would say if I were the Oregon Division of Tourism (and Mars were Oregon), “Mars: Things look different here.”