Monday, February 28, 2005

Version 1.0.2

Version 1.0.2 adds the "Download Latest Images from JPL" and "Advanced Download Images from JPL" and, I hope, fixes the remaining out-of-memory-isssues.

Download Page

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Version 1.0.1

Version 1.0.1 is here! Here's what's new:

- General improvements for performance and reliability.

- Improved user interface: created separate "Regenerate Images" option; simplified interface for "Advanced Update".

- Added slideshow "Play" feature.

- Added "Copy Exploratorium Image URL to Clipboard", "Copy JPL Image URL to Clipboard", and "Copy Local Image Pathname to Clipboard" options to the Edit menu. Note that "Copy Exploratorium Image URL" only works when the current image has been downloaded from Exploratorium since the program started. "Copy JPL Image URL" always works, but it ignores whether the image has actually been posted to the JPL site yet.

- Added quick preset feature to image criteria dialog.

- Added optional download end date to "Advanced Update".

- Added file chooser for rawImageDir, generatedImageDir preferences.

- Added "debugMode" option in Preferences for verbose update logging.

- Changed Exploratorium address to

- Bug fix: invalid color types in Preferences can no longer crash update.

- Moved Preferences to Application menu on MacOS X.

- Made Navigate menu always appear (even if it's grayed out) (this is for consistancy with MacOS user interface standards).

- Changed default false-color preferences to move L456, L457 up front.

Download Page

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Initial Response; Version 1.0.1 Coming

Initial response has been great; many more comments than I expected. A discussion thread is currently going on over on the discussion boards. Thanks to everyone who has emailed.

Version 1.0.1 is on the way. This will mainly be a bug-fix release with some user-interface improvements, but if you're using 1.0 you'll definitely want to update. I'm hoping for early next week for releasing it, but we'll see.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Midnight Mars Browser 1.0 - now online!

Mindight Mars Browser 1.0 is now available!

The documentation isn't complete, but I wanted to get this out there so people can have fun with it. Most of the target audience (especially people who already surf a lot) can probably figure out how to use it, and if not, send me an email.

Download the MacOS X version

Download the Windows / other platforms version

On platforms other than MacOS X, you will first need to download and install Java if it's not already on your computer.

Currently, MMB has been tested on MacOS X 10.3 and Windows 2003, but as a pure Java application it should (theoretically) run on any platform that supports Java 1.4.

Other requirements include a fast network connection and *lots* of hard drive space if you're going to download a lot of images. MMB makes it easy to download the entire raw image set from Exploratorium, which is several gigabytes.

From the README.txt file:

-- Introduction --

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) makes raw images from the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity available on the Internet. The Exploratorium website ( also hosts these images, and furthermore posts new images on the hour, often almost as soon as they are received on Earth. Midnight Mars Browser is a tool that makes it easier to download and view these images.

Midnight Mars Browser synchronizes with the Exploratorium website, downloading the latest new and updated images to your computer. It automatically processes these raw images to generate anaglyph (3-D) and false-color images. You can watch the images as they are downloaded and processed, and Midnight Mars Browser also creates a slideshow of the most recently updated images for you to review. You can also use the slideshow feature to view all of the images you've downloaded, or any subset of them. For example, you can select all Spirit Left Forward Hazard Avoidance Camera images, to step through a "movie" of Spirit traveling across the Martian surface. Midnight Mars Browser displays all images in the order that they were taken by the rovers, according to the time-code that is part of the image filename. MMB will also tell you what Sol (martian day) an image was taken on, which is something that's hard to tell when browsing the images on Exploratorium.

The program is basically just MER image browsing the way I (the author, Michael Howard) want it to see it. Suggestions for features or improvements are welcome: