3D stereo images of Mars without glasses!

The are a bunch of new photos coming from Mars and you can see most of them in stereo (3D) if you know how. Parallax 3D stereo is where each eye sees a slightly different image and your brain interprets the differences so that you perceive depth.

Spirit is currently wandering about the surface of Mars taking stereo pictures - one for your left eye and another for your right. While it is possible to accomplish this by using only a single camera and moving it sideways about 3 inches between shots, Spirit uses pairs of cameras so that both images are taken at the same time. To see the image in stereo, the left eye should see only the left image and the right eye should see only the right image. There are many ways to accomplish this - but most require special software, and some require special glasses (yuk!). However, there is a way to use only your web browser to see the Spirit pictures in 3D.

Once you locate a stereo pair, open each image in a separate window, then resize the 2 windows to be only one half the width of your computer monitor. Place the Left image on the Right side of the monitor and the Right on the Left. When you cross your eyes, you will see a single image in stereo.

Some browsers automatically resize large images so that they "fit" the browser - in most cases, you want to disable this. It means that now you need to scroll the images to see them, but you will see a lot more detail. It helps to find a prominent rock and place it at the same height in each image. Now cross your eyes and "merge" the rock.

Here are the names of 2 images that make a stereo pair, notice that the names are the same except for the L and R that indicate which camera was used.

Spirit: Navigation Camera: Sol 010 Spirit: Navigation Camera: Sol 010

The above 2 images that comprise a stereo pair - cross your eyes and force the 2 images to fuse into a single 3D image.

When you cross your eyes, the Left eye will look directly at the image on the Right side of the monitor and Right eye will look directly at the image on the Left. When the landmarks in the 2 images overlap, your brain will interpret the scene as having depth.

Here are a few additional pairs, ordered so that you don't have to figure it out yourself. These images are configured so that you should not right click them, they automatically open in Left and Right browser windows. Once you resize and arrange the browsers for the first stereo pair, all you have to do is click on the other pairs and they will already be aligned.

By the way, I've added notes indicating what "fossils" I think are present - I know that other explainations are possible, I'm just having a little fun.

The Narigation and Hazard cameras seem to always have stereo pairs, but the high resolution Panoramic camera frequently does not.

To compare Wavelengths to colors, see Spectra Lab Report. The names used in the table above are very approximate. I also suggest checking out Color Science - Eye Sensitivity.

I don't have confirmation that the table and the image filenames use the same filter numbers, but it seems likely. I have noticed that most of the better stereo pairs are L2/R2 and L7/R1.

Notice that only the left camera can be used to produce "true color" images. While that would appear to limit the possibility of color stereo pairs, I once took a roll of stereo pairs using color film for one camera and black and white for the other (well actually, it was an accident). When merged, the final image was in color - I was very suprised.

OK, I mention shells and other wierd looking stuff ... a lot. Well, it is fun to make believe - seeing dragons in clouds does not make them dragons ... they are still clouds. However, the objects in many of the images do not seem to belong together. Most of the rocks are convex on all sides and they have sharp edges. This is consistent with crushed stone used in driveways, it is not consistent with erosion products far from the base of a mountain.

Several images have rocks with holes in them. The small holes are easily detected using stereo vision, the large holes are just obvious. Some volcanic rocks do have holes in them, but, in the rocks I've collected, they look quite a bit different than the ones in these pictures. Also, there are not enough rocks with similar holes for either the volcanic or local erosion theories to be correct. Basically, these rocks should not be found with the others.

There are also a number of rocks that appear to be missing cubic crystals. On Earth, I have found lots of quartz in streams with the same look. In that case, water caused the quartz to grow in veins around pyrite crystals. At some later point, water in a stream disolved the pyrite leaving the cubic holes.

Then there are the "other" rocks, they look like shells or fossils. Again, there are not enough of them for that to be a correct interpretation, but they also should not be found with the small angular rocks that are everywhere.