Green And Blue Mars
January 6, 2013 1:39 AM   Subscribe

Imagine the planet Mars as you've never seen it before.

A world covered with lush greenery and blue oceans. Kevin Gill uses computer graphics to go back in time two billion years. He also renders other worlds.
posted by Kevin Street (34 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
What about Venus?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:50 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Very cool - I've looked for images like this many times. Also jibes nicely with that new meteorite they discovered from Mars all filled with evidence of water. Fires the imagination.

Unfortunately, his set of images showing the Earth should the Antarctic and Greenlandic icecaps also fire the imagination, in a different way.

Off to do some terraforming in Spore now...
posted by digitalprimate at 1:51 AM on January 6, 2013


This flips all of my imagination switches, thanks for posting it!

(although I'll probably be daydreaming about life on Mars all day now)
posted by iamkimiam at 2:13 AM on January 6, 2013


By mars you mean Malacandra or Barsoom, right?
posted by Mezentian at 2:30 AM on January 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks for posting. This stuff has been on my mind lately too. Here's the map from Blue Mars which echoes these renderings but with cities and even a canal.

My imaginings of late have been wondering what if the Victorian imaginations of Mars and Venus were correct. Mars as a dying world in the process of desertification globally but still has shallow seas, drying rivers, a worldwide network of canals, dead cities, and ecosystems which have adapted. And then Venus as a rain-shrouded world of forests and great seas. Great fun thinking about how different things would be if our nearest planets had life, were relatively easily colonizable, and, in the case of Mars, supported civilizations which may or may not have survived.

In this vein, here's one of my favorite renderings of the Mars that never was: a map by Sciaparelli in 1888.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:33 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Fittingly, Planet Metallica has plenty of power, but no atmosphere.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:40 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


That rendering of Olympus Mons (and the rest of the tall mountains) looks out of scale.

And: As I've "never seen it before"? Terraforming Mars isn't a new concept, nor is illustrating it. Those are very nice renderings, though.
posted by jiawen at 2:56 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I suspect that the z values (representing height) are probably artificially augmented for visibility. I know that when I've done some 3-d rendering (albeit in other GIS engines) a little multiplier on the Zs does make it more visually appealing.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:31 AM on January 6, 2013


Nice. Now do one for Venus and turn it into a flyover like this one of Venus. (I recommend watching that with this playing, from MeFi music).
posted by Wolfdog at 4:00 AM on January 6, 2013


Dang, I'd like to see Texas with water. We have a drought here y'all.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:34 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plenty of it over here in the Yewnighted Kingdom. We started the year with a drought and water use restrictions; ended it with the ground saturated from Land's End to John O'Groats. Serious talk of abandoning a number of the flood plains around rivers due to the housing there becoming uninsurable (and there are a lot of flood plains with a lot of houses).

Planetary engineering? We're doing it. Mars, watch out.
posted by Devonian at 5:46 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always imagined it like this.
posted by MtDewd at 6:01 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love this, but when I first saw it a few days ago, it looked "off" to me somehow.

No rivers! if there is elevation and there are clouds, there are going to be rivers.
posted by absalom at 6:04 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of reading Allaby & Lovelock's The Greening of Mars back in the 80's - - good times.
posted by fairmettle at 6:07 AM on January 6, 2013


> No rivers! if there is elevation and there are clouds, there are going to be rivers.

Now that would be awesome to see. Take this elevation data and simulate a few million years of rain and erosion.
posted by lucidium at 6:35 AM on January 6, 2013


> No rivers! if there is elevation and there are clouds, there are going to be rivers.

Now that would be awesome to see. Take this elevation data and simulate a few million years of rain and erosion.


Sim City Mars.
posted by Fizz at 7:00 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


SimEarth is in need of a revisit, I agree.
posted by absalom at 8:11 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My imaginings of late have been wondering what if the Victorian imaginations of Mars and Venus were correct.

Stirling's The Sky People and In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, if you want to see another take.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:12 AM on January 6, 2013


> That rendering of Olympus Mons (and the rest of the tall mountains) looks out of scale.

Not really. Olympus Mons is huge. The planet is smaller, and the second image is angled to emphasize how big it is. The elevations he's using are probably accurate.

> No rivers!

There are some. Look at this image again. But, yeah, not much on reverse side of the planet.
posted by nangar at 8:15 AM on January 6, 2013


On the real Mars, wee se fluvial erosion today on a small scale in the form of gullies. We also see evidence of fluvial erosion in ancient terrains. But the source of the liquid is not precipitation. What we generally don't see on the real Mars are the type of dentritic (tree-shaped) valleys that from when rain falls on regions of high elevation and runs down to lower elevations. (Dendritic channels on Mars are very old, and tend to have stubby heads, not fine branches of tributaries, indicating that they are formed by water seeping out from underground sources—though there are a few tantalizing exceptions.)

If Mars was as wet with a nice thick atmosphere so that rain and snow could happen, as in these images, rivers would develop quickly, of course.
posted by BrashTech at 8:51 AM on January 6, 2013


That rendering of Olympus Mons (and the rest of the tall mountains) looks out of scale.

Oh, it's definitely out of scale. But this is a photo illustration. Almost every astronomical "photograph" you see is a photo illustration of some kind, e.g. false color or rendering of stuff outside the visible spectrum, so this is normal.

Olympus Mons is huge.

Yes, but not that huge. Here's what Viking saw. Far taller than any Earth mountain range, but on the scale of a baseball, say, you would barely be able to see it.

Also jibes nicely with that new meteorite they discovered from Mars all filled with evidence of water.

I hold out hope that we'll one day find more evidence of water on Mars, but I sincerely doubt we'll find very much of it. To get Blue Mars we would need to mine it elsewhere.
posted by dhartung at 9:48 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is where Game of Thrones is set, isn't it?
posted by mazola at 9:52 AM on January 6, 2013


Ann Clayborne is gonna be pissed.
posted by thewalrus at 10:49 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always liked the imagination involved in Schiaparelli's Mars, linked by honestcoyote. Here's two more pictures. Here's a spherical model of Mars (actual) next to Schiaparelli's observed Mars. And here's a satellite map of actual Mars overlaid with the canal system (caution for mobile users - big file, 2448 Ă— 1224 pixels). Because some dreams are never worth forgetting.
posted by Zack_Replica at 12:08 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, Olympus Mons poking through the atmosphere reminds me of the Fist-of-God from Larry Niven's Ringworld series.
posted by Zack_Replica at 12:31 PM on January 6, 2013


nangar: "Not really. Olympus Mons is huge. The planet is smaller, and the second image is angled to emphasize how big it is. The elevations he's using are probably accurate."

You piqued my curiosity. Okay, in that image, Mars is c. 593 pixels in diameter. Olympus Mons, as portrayed there, is about 9 pixels tall, or about 1/66 of Mars' diameter. In reality, Mars is about 6800 KM in diameter, and Olympus Mons is about 27 KM at greatest, or about 1/250 of Mars' diameter. The image is therefore showing Olympus Mons to be about 4x higher than it actually is -- so yes, it's very exaggerated.

And now you (and I) know.
posted by jiawen at 1:50 PM on January 6, 2013


jiawen and dhartung, yeah, you're right. He's got a similar image here with "elevations ... exaggerated to enhance the visibility of terrain features".
posted by nangar at 3:07 PM on January 6, 2013


In other words, her nipples are so shopped.
posted by dhartung at 5:59 PM on January 6, 2013


I'm actually about halfway through Green Mars right now and have found myself wondering if there was a Google Earth plugin or something that I could load up and look at the different places on the planet. Would be cool to have points for all the action going on in the book.
posted by daHIFI at 7:02 PM on January 6, 2013


Google Earth has a Mars mode. There's also a decent app for Android called Mars Map with the ability to search. I'm sure there's a similar app for iOS.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:08 PM on January 6, 2013


dhartung, no reason to bring sexism into it.
posted by jiawen at 10:26 PM on January 6, 2013


dhartung: "In other words, her nipples are so shopped."

Isnt mars supposed to be male? You should have used "his".
posted by TheLittlePrince at 10:54 PM on January 6, 2013


Sunset on Chryse Planitia
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:07 AM on January 7, 2013


honestcoyote: "Great fun thinking about how different things would be if our nearest planets had life, were relatively easily colonizable, and, in the case of Mars, supported civilizations which may or may not have survived."

Space: 1889

posted by Chrysostom at 7:51 AM on January 7, 2013


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