Taking the advice of Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary Society, I’ve been exploring the Solar System first hand. Well, humanity’s fleet of robotic spacecraft and the teams who fly them did all the hard work, but I’ve been wandering through the raw data returned by several of those missions. Almost all of them make their unprocessed scientific data publicly available online. There is decades of material from almost every planet, from the early Mariner probes right through to the Mars rovers. We’re talking about gigabytes. With a few software tools and little poking around, there are treasures to uncover.
Some talented amateurs take this raw information and craft it into spectacular images. All I’ve done is scratch the surface. In fact, my first few forays into this world have been literally random. I just went to ESA’s online repositories and dove in arbitrarily.
The amazing part is that my unplanned wandering yielded some pretty cool stuff. Here are a couple of things I found (it’s unlikely that these particular images have ever been published anywhere before):