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: