Great Zoom into Don Juan Pond, Antarctica (treatment #2 North)
Released on April 22, 2004
Antarctica is the coldest and most remote continent on Earth. It is also home to one of the most Mars-like places that scientists can study without actually traveling to the fourth planet. In this sequence we plunge from space down to a remarkably detailed view of a unique part of the Dry Valleys. By studying this place researchers think they might gain insight into how life on Mars might either survive now or have developed in the past. It is called the Don Juan Pond, and its one of the saltiest, coldest bodies of water on Earth. Treatment #2 uses an IKONOS inset that's enhanced to show detail. This portion of the visualization is intended to follow Great Zoom into Don Juan Pond, Antarctica (treatment #2 - found in animation 2874) and moves in close to traverses the top edge of the valley surrounding it. We see the crinkled folds and dug out rivulets and gullies eroded into the landscape. These gullies are similar to features on Mars that have been photographed by orbiting spacecraft. They serve as signs of surface erosion and are analogous to the kinds of tell-tales that Mars experts are want to study more thoroughly for signs of a wetter Martian past.