The Martian Landscape, in Wacky 3D

More

The red planet becomes the red and blue planet.

[optional image description]
NASA

The surface of Mars has become, at this point, one of the most photographed celebrities in the world. Via its dedicated paparazzo, the Curiosity rover, the Red Planet has been depicted as, variously, black-and-white blobs; high-def images, in striking color; panoramas; interactive panoramaspseudo-Instagrams; and cheeky GIFs. Thanks to Curiosity -- and, more specifically, to NASA's savvy indulgence of public interest in Curiosity's discoveries -- the foreign landscape of Mars is becoming more and more familiar to us.

Which means that NASA's publicity, increasingly, has a little less to do with encouraging familiarity and a little more to do with the disruption of it. Now that the world is flooded with pictures of Bradbury Landing and Mount Sharp and the rocky terrain of a dusty planet, how do you keep Mars's erstwhile exoticism alive in the public mind? How do you balance exposure against excitement?

Here's one way: NASA just published a 3D image of the Martian surface. Yep: old-school 3D, the kind of disordered and disorienting-to-the-naked-eye rendering that, as NASA points out, "requires viewing with the traditional red-blue 3-D glasses, with red going over the left eye."

What's that? You don't have 3D glasses sitting next to you at the moment? First of all: Why not? And second of all: Neither do I. Fortunately for us, though, NASA has a helpful guide to making your own version of the required glasses. This requires three steps -- four, if you need to make a trip to a craft store to buy your materials. It is, in other words, work. But it gives a jaded world yet another new way to see an old planet.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In