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Voxel Mars

Explore every corner of the red your browser

In 1996, the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) flew aboard Mars Global Surveyor. Using infrared laser pulses, it created a precise map of the planet's topography.


We're loading this data onto the awesome webgl-based voxel.js engine so that you can take a hike through Valles Marineris, climb up Olympus Mons and say hello to Curiosity on Gale Crater.

Voxel Mars

This release is a very early alpha; right now you can freely roam through the entire surface (well, except the poles) of a scaled down Mars; we're using the highest resolution map provided by NASA, at 463 meters per pixel. Since your avatar is ~1.5 voxel high, yes, you're seeing Mars through the eyes of a ~694m tall giant. Still, it would take about 1 hour and 47 minutes, walking non-stop, to go around the world.

Future ideas include:

  • interpolate MOLA data as far as possible to get closer to human scale

  • use HiGHRISE DTMs (available in select locations with a resolution of ~2m per pixel)

  • a science-based (no dragons) survival mode on which you have to generate your oxygen and fuel, extract your water, grow your food, make martian bricks, etc

  • use voxel-sky to add phobos and deimos

  • add every lander and rover ever sent to Mars and put them at their correct locations

  • allow player to fly in "tourism" mode

Live demo

Running locally

Clone repo and install dependencies

git clone
npm i

Download the MOLA data (2GB total, might be a good idea to go get a cup of coffee)

npm run download

Slice them into smaller PNG files (should take less than 4 minutes)

npm run slice

Run with

npm start

And that's it! Go to http://localhost:3000/ and enjoy!