Monday, September 17, 2012

Video Footage of Curiosity's Descent to Mars

This 4fps video, released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shows the final two and a half minutes of Curiosity's descent to the surface of Mars from the point of heat shield separation to touchdown, as captured by Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager (MARDI).

Although very fascinating, it is neither fluid, nor very detailed.

In steps Youtube user Bard Canning who took this original footage and made it into a 30fps video through a process known as interpolation. From Wikipedia:

"Motion interpolation is a form of video processing in which intermediate animation frames are generated between existing ones, in an attempt to make animation more fluid."

This meant that he had to re-create 26 frames in every second from the 4 frames per second of the original video. It took him 4 weeks, but the result is, as he describes it:

"Ultra-resolution, smooth-motion, detail-enhanced, color-corrected, interpolated from the original 4 frames per second to 30 frames per second. This video plays real-time at the speed that Curiosity descended to the surface of Mars on August 6, 2012."

Here is his video (he also added sound effects):

And here is a comparison between original and interpolated video:

Although Bard Canning's video is not 100% "real", I believe it is within acceptable limits of accuracy and definitely more impressive and informative than the original.

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