The Labyrinth of Night A section of Noctis Labyrinthus, the Labyrinth of Night, as seen by ESA’s Mars Express orbiter. A composite of several images found with the help of the HRSCview website: ESA/Freie Universitaet Berlin and DLR Berlin/Bill Dunford

Day Hikes in the Labyrinth of Night

Posted By Bill Dunford

2013/02/04 10:02 CST

The glamour shots of the planets that space agencies release from the various robotic missions are always gorgeous, and they usually serve as good illustrations of the science under investigation.

But sometimes it’s fun to wander out on your own. Almost all of the data collected by past and current planetary missions is posted online in one form or another. Anyone is free to mine this treasure trove, and the images created by talented amateurs from unprocessed data files can be spectacular. Besides, looking through these pictures and other information almost feels like exploring the strange and beautiful alien landscapes in person. You can fly in low over the surface of Mercury or hike the canyons of Mars, one picture at a time.

Doing this isn’t always easy. It can mean laborious searches through deep archives of raw data, painstaking investigations into exactly where and what was observed, and hours of image post-processing in order to create a decent-looking (and still reasonably accurate) picture.

Read more: Day Hikes in the Labyrinth of Night | The Planetary Society.

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