Rendered images of the complete planet Mars
First high resolution renderings
After doing my first renderings, it was finally time for some higher resolution renderings of the complete planet. According to the resolution of the used topography data (1/64 degree), images of 4000x4000 pixels should well be possible. Furthermore, I got my hands on a more detailed (1/16 degree) visible color image from Mars. Unfortunately, this image has a shadow and needed some hand-tweaking in exact positioning to match it with the topography data.
The images below required feeding 550Mb data into POVRay-3.5 and were rendered on my AthlonXP Linux workstation as a "background job" absorbing all left-over CPU cycles... just as I always do.
What one can see
In the second image below, the camera was positioned at a distance of 160000km from Mars (i.e. 156600km above the surface); that is about 7 times the distance of Mars' outer "moon" Deimos (at 23500km distance). Hence, you can see the carbon dioxide ice on the poles of Mars.
Unfortunately, Mars seems to have only one "interesting" main view and that is the one presented immediately below: You can see Olympus Mons (said to be the highest volcano in the solar system: it is 24km high and measures 550km across) and the large canyon system called Vallis Marineris which extends over 4000km and is up to 7km deep.