CIS Computing & Information Services


Advanced Visualization in Solar System Exploration and Research

3D representation of Martian surface

RCN: A Research Coordination Network for X-ray Motion Analysis
National Science Foundation
PI, Elizabeth Brainerd

Optimizing Science Return from the Moon and Mars
PI, James W. Head, III, Professor, Geological Sciences
Co-PI's, Samuel Fulcomer, Associate Director, CCV
Andy van Dam, Professor, Computer Science

The overall goal of ADVISER is to virtually place the geoscientist on planetary surfaces, and provide the tools necessary to explore and take measurements within this environment. This has proven to be useful enough in exploring planetary surfaces that it has now been incorporated into the Brown University Geology course GEO 5: “Mars, Moon, and Earth”.

A significant effort has been placed on adapting the tools to explore planetary datasets tens of terabytes in size, while maintaining interactive rendering speeds needed for virtual reality.

The tools are being developed both for our advanced immersive visualization systems as well as commodity based systems. Potentially, this allows for a larger user base, without compromising usability or functionality. This also allows for seamless transition from simple desktop visualization, group visualization at high resolution display walls, and fully immersive visualization in the Cave. On the desktop, the tools are invoked from within ArcMap, allowing direct access to ADVISER from within a geologists known toolset.

A key aspect of the ADVISER project is the idea of Data Fusion: the ability to combine multiple forms of data into a single unified form. While this includes combining geo-referenced height and image data into a seamless landscape, it also includes incorporating the vast amounts of multi-spectral data being collected. Simulations also allow the researcher to explore active geological processes, as well as the effects of solar insolation. All of these data are being combined into a single, coherent visualization geoscientists can interact with as though they were on or near the surface of remote locations like Mars or Antarctica. ADVISER provides tools such as strike and dip, real time image color stretch, and contour profiling to allow the user to fully explore the data while in the immersive environment.