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hello.. i am trying to model in 3d the mars rover and can't find the correct material, so I was wondering whether anyone in here has access to more information than I do and cares to help.

I am looking for detailed pictures of rover parts from all sides (top, left, right and bottom). I am attaching a few pics for the members to see the progress of my work. Trying to be as accurate as possible. Process is really slow since I have to make stuff out of bad reference pics I've tried collecting material from the nasa site, from raw images coming from the rover, from roobtics' sites etc, but couldn't come up with the correct reference i am seeking.

if anyone cares to help, please do so smile.gif

scooterlord, I do not have the documentation you're asking for, but I want to express my enthusiasm: the work you did up to now is simply breathtaking! ohmy.gif
Did you estimated how many polygons should approximately contain the complete model? (I suspect my poor PC will never be able to visualize it sad.gif )
There are a LOT of high res images at the KSC website

Use the advances search option here

And search for images, in reverse date order, having selected Mars Exploration Rovers under the Expend. LV drop box.

This is the first image that includes a rover

There are a LOT of images in there.

thanks dilo.. smile.gif as for the polys, I have no idea, they can end up as many as they want as long as I am happy wink.gif

djelisson, thanks for the sites, i'll look into it. for the time being, just in any case anyone happens to have what i want, i need hi-res photos of the high gain antenna, microscopic imager and especially the mossbauer spectroscoper.
thanks for the help! currently looking to the site myself.. wink.gif i hope i find helpful reference in there. i'll keep u guys posted for every work-in-progress i do..
QUOTE (scooterlord @ Sep 2 2006, 08:49 PM) *
I'll keep u guys posted for every work-in-progress i do..

Great! smile.gif
hey there guys... sorry it took me a while to get back to you, but I've been really busy lately (and I don't mean with 3d tongue.gif)

temp render of the hga. i actually spent 3 days modeling just this. modeling and re-modeling that is in order to achieve accuracy. but how am I supposed to do that without the correct reference? I spend more hours trying to figure out the shapes and measuring ratios between this line and that line than actually modeling. i'll keep you guys posted for new stuff..

let me know what you think, and PLEASE if you have clear photos other than the ones suggested previously in this thread please share!
Sorry, I can't help you. I will just say: wow! You have done these kind of things before haven't you? Amazing!
thnx remcook! well, i've done it before, I can do it again. 3d takes a LOT of patience and I have it; the recognition along with the personal satisfaction that comes afterwards is worth it. you can visit other samples of my work at just to have an idea on what results are to come from this mer project smile.gif
Loving the work - I'm wondering what the end goal is - are you intending to animate it - put the model on Turbosquid, or is it a work of passion smile.gif

well, reason I started this project is because I was all excited with the new 'trasnformers: the movie' -coming up on 2007- trailer, which features the mars rover. i was looking for a new 3d project to fill my free time, so here it was. i usually start such projects for fun, and personal satisfaction - it's like me having it, designing it, really cool feeling. especially when you end up creating a model from crappy reference etc, increases your perception abilities. very important. IRL i finished a radiologist/actinologist. I take x-rays, CTs, etc. perception is really important especially in surgeries, knowing how the object will look like from different angles, what result i will take on my screen if i point my emmiter here or there..

..but after countless hours of work why not get advantage of it? so it's going to end up in turbosquid, probably in a price too high for people to get, but you never know wink.gif

but most importantly it gives you the opportunity to meet new interesting people and get some interesting offers from time to time. let alone adds up to my personal portfolio, which if in need i'll be able to use to get some work wink.gif
Something of an overlap... I'm involved in medical E-learning stuff at work and have done 3d reconstructions of the upper airway from MRI imaging to produce rapid prototyped models of the airway for simulation of aerosol and nebulised drug delivery air flow smile.gif

I'm also going the other way with a MER model - very low res with simple textures which might end up being of use for people like Indian3000 and his interactive software ( he doesn't know yet smile.gif )

There's a couple of fairly expensive MER models on Turbosquid already - but they're not good on accuracy smile.gif

QUOTE (scooterlord @ Sep 8 2006, 08:23 PM) *
you can visit other samples of my work at just to have an idea on what results are to come from this mer project smile.gif

Hi scooterlord, quick question, what plugins, if any do I need to view your site? Using firefox in Linux, and I can't get anything up. No worries.
QUOTE (jaredGalen @ Sep 9 2006, 12:20 PM) *
Hi scooterlord, quick question, what plugins, if any do I need to view your site? Using firefox in Linux, and I can't get anything up. No worries.

well, have no idea about linux, but you should be able to view it properly. all it requires is the shockwave plugin.. but firefox should have it installed already. first time I hear about anyone having problems accessing my site.

people interested can also view my old site:

samples of my work can also be found over at -> search for 'Nick Sotiriadis'

looks like it became an ad topic :>
well, here i am again with a difficult update...

it was all i could make out of the photos, generally i am very happy with the results. many thing seem to be 'connecting right'. it's a way to verify the model is coming out nicely since i model this part by part and then 'combine' them into the scene. so seeing that from different angles they 'connect' it just verifies it's accuracy (ahem, as much as you can get out of crappy reference).

i am stuck now at the part begind the hgag, on its left side looking at it from the back, where the film (or small cables?) enter the hga. if anyone happens to come across clear pictures of what i want please send them over. what i need most is dimensions. ratios. angles. clear pictures from exact lefts, rights, tops, bottoms. to finish this i only need to model the part i just mentioned, the cables at the rear of the anntena, one small part that i guess is used to steady the antena at that position and then detailing, nuts, bolts, cables, and stuff. smile.gif i circle the main part that troubles me and would LOVE to have clearer reference of, especially how it connects to the mer.

did anyone happen to notice that the part that rotates the actual antenna and the one that rotates the whole system vertically are exactly the same part? I spent a lot of time staring at photos before i ended up to this conclusion. looks like nasa didn't pay enough to design different parts. smile.gif
new update guys...

decided to drop the hga for a while since i can't come up with new better reference and turned to the rocker-bogie system where I can work quite fast since many parts are yet to be modeled and are quite clear in the reference photos i have. most of the time (again) is spent to make stuff out of the references. the mer is very tricky, many differences between sides of the same part. i keep measuring from funny angles ratios and angles between parts and so on. ratios most of the times are straight numbers and angles are in differences of x multiplied by 5, so i guess i am doing it all right. here are the results so far after a couple of days modeling:

any comments are welcome, especially ones pointing out errors smile.gif

ps I accidenataly came across this strange thing in my references. notice in the above renders that the main axle that rotated the whole front part of the rocker-bogie has 2 bolts from the inside than the outside. the better you look the better the results! smile.gif
woaw, all I can say is, what a cool job you're doing!!

Looking forward to more..

Soon, you'll be able to better describe the rovers than the one that actually built them. I love what you're doing. I'll try to hav a close look to hunt for errors. Thought job tho!
error hunt sounds great! smile.gif try this for the hga, rocker-bogie and the rat and apxs because everything else is incomplete.. smile.gif this would help a lot. even hand drawn sketches of difficult parts, like the one i circled above in the hga, or the rear part of the rocker-bogie..

thanks for the support guys! smile.gif
hello again. sorry it took me so long but i've been busy lately with a new job and trying to settle things up. this is a good update though. i progressed a lot with the rocker-bogie suspension which was damn difficult to make out, especially the rear part of it. some things are missing but thought it'd show you this just in case anyone has any clearer reference photos from the ones i have (parts not done are probably shown there). i leave most nuts and bolts and ALL wires for the end of the detailing procedure. here we go:

...and a wire

guys, notice the top view. wheels are not aligned on a straight line, this came out by itself and AFTERWARDS i verified this from references. this means i actually did a very good job measuring widths and heights and angles and ratios and comparing things from strange-angled reference material. i actually surprised myself smile.gif looks very accurate to me so far.

expecting your comments and as always... any good reference except the ones mentioned above (or in any case material that you KNOW is rare and diffuclt to come across) let me know...
Tremendously good work I'd say!

I look forward to the complete model, it should be awesome to say the least. ohmy.gif

Very impressive, scooterlord!
I'm not so expert of MER mechanics, but about these beautiful CG images, I suggest you to slightly expand the poor contrast/brightness because is more easy to see the incredible details you reproduced.
Look at this and compare with original, for example:
Click to view attachment

(EDIT: wow, 1500 posts!)

as for dilo, I didn't play with contrast because these are just temporary renders, after model is finished will be textured, etc and then i'll take care of retouching. let alone i posted the renders late at night and was tired smile.gif i'll keep you guys updated as soon as i have something new!
hello with a new update... not that bigof an update, but very difficult though; really tough (once again) to make out from references. this time i realized that "in-vitro" photographs of the equipment are far more different that the ones actually used on the actual mers. let alone, opportunity and the spirit have waaay too many differences themselves.

anyway, this is the micro-imager. as always if someone comes across any differences from the actual micro-imager i'd like to know. no rear-view though for now, not modeled some details i want to in the back, i'll post as soon as i am done.

this last one is to show the bottom view, base seems to have this strange shape: task is the moessbauer which is very difficult once more. i found a couple of nice photos of the actual piece of equipment but not very clear references of the base that holds in on the rat arm. i'd be grateful if someone can also help out with this one smile.gif

i've been VERY busy lately but expect an update REALLY soon (hopefully) smile.gif
QUOTE (scooterlord @ Nov 3 2006, 01:51 PM) *
hello with a new update...

Incredible detailed work scooterlord! blink.gif
Following this way it won't be long untill UMSF has it own spacecraft... cool.gif
I am just in awe at your efforts. I can't even imagine how much time it must take to generate these models.

Seeing the various components in such excruciating detail is just amazing; I find it even better like this than to look at the hi-res photos with their dark shadows, distracting textures and obstructions. It provides a real insight into the design of those components.


PS If you use a Mars dust color instead of gray for the renderings, your final complete model will probably match the actual state of the MERs at that time unsure.gif
thanks ustrax smile.gif

airbag.. there's still a LOT of work to be done; many parts i haven't even started modeling, all parts so far need thorough detailing - there are no cables anywhere yet - and it will be a very difficult task, i try not to think about it because i'll just become nervous and it's still not time for that.

...after the modeling is done... exporting the model to import in 3ds. part by part. this needs to be done because the program i am using to model (rhino3d) doesn't help a lot in uv mapping for textures so i need to export in 3ds...

...and last but not least, texturing. VERY difficult, needs optimizing, needs masking, needs testing - renders takes a lot of time. I want to have all details on, the mer seems not to have that many different materials so I hope i don't encounter any problems.

so, hm.. that's a lot of work, huh? biggrin.gif
I was looking for the mechanism on the MI rendering for flipping the dust cover/filter out of the way of the main lens. Is that small cylinder the stepper motor that drives that movement? I don't see any linkage though, or a clear sign of that cover?

hm, i am not sure what you are talking about airbag. do be honest, i don't quite know what all these things i am modeling actually do, meaning, i don't know it's use. if I knew, maybe i could 'guess' some parts and the modeling would be easier but unfortunately i don't. if you have any photos to show me with what you mean, please put a simple circle around it and post. I haven't seen anything like the thing u mention, EXCEPT some other mechanism on top of the lens, which I only came across a couple of photos, but like i said "in vitro" and actual photos from the panoramic camera of the mer show different equipment.
Quote: Wooow that's really too much ... that's really too much !

Amazing work scooterlord
I couldn't really find any more useful links than the ones Doug already posted above. But, you can see that there is a "horizontal" cylinder next to the lens, and a square cover over it - I believe these are part of the dust cover mechanism. Many of the photos I came across show the MI without this cover installed, presumably for early testing purposes.

The Athena site has a small picture (rendered too!) of the front of the MI:

The 4th picture down on the right shows a (simulated) frontal view of that dust cover.

thanks doug. that mi diagram is very useful. wish i could come across it earlier because as it seems i have to remodel a few things. got me a view of the back side though. smile.gif thanks!

airbag, a horizontal cylinder i have already modeled, there's nothing more i saw in any of the other photos that i did not model. please find a picture of it and post. in the meantime i'll try to find some time to model a bit more of the other stuff smile.gif

thanks for the support guys!
here is the...uhm... 'rear view' of the micro imager.

in a couple of reference pics i've got, i see many differences between them concerning the 'contact sensor housing' this is the best i can make out.

airbag, as for this cap you are talking about maybe it's something i came across in a photo, but since i have 10 without it and 1 with it, i choose NOT to model it smile.gif
hello everyone and merry christmas! it's not that i abandoned the project, I Was just too busy with work and redesigning my new site (so re-visit for new stuff)...

anyway, i did a small progress modeling-wise, but was a great step for the final model. I composited the most of the rat's arm. I have just one render for you guys for now, your support is a great help for me to go on, so I hope you enjoy this one. the next few days i'll try to make the whole arm and finish the moessbauer modeling. hope to hear your comments!

Not sure if the MI is spot on - I think the optic design is a little 'short' - as a reference, the backend and electronics box for each camera ( Pancam, MI, Navcam, Hazcam ) is the's just the optical assemb. that changes...and obviously the MI has the dust cover and contact sensor..but I think these might be a bit too far 'forward'..

Great work though

hello there... new update. first time to post the moessbauer spectrometer. there's still details to be added but I wanted you to take notice of the progress..

doug, I guess you are wrong on this one, I spent way too many hours analyzing stuff out. I had already checked the reference image you posted but I have to show you the following reference which is one of the crappy ones I used to model. At first I thought you pointed out that the lens was too forward thats why i post the following reference pic, but reading again I realized you meant it is too short compared to the electronics box. it must be the angle though, here is another angle (i know the moessbauers position is totally wrong, currently working on this one)

Moreover as you can see there's no dust cover in the following reference as well. in 8 out of 10 pics there's no dust cover depicted thats why I chose not to model it.

your comments are welcome though, thanks doug, I hope everyone else also helps, I am doing my best here, there are many things that I have remodeled already more than once smile.gif keep checking things out guys! smile.gif
Here is a very nice picture of the instruments, with a particularly good view of the MI's "flip up" dust cover:

(Photo Credit: NASA/JPL; from

You had it right all've trumped my 'MER-in-my-head' knowledge smile.gif Bloody accurate - further kudos.

well, great news today! I am done with the moessbauer. I had to remodel the metal parts that hold it to its base several times in order for it to be in place (like i did with the micro imager) but not everything seems to be in place! I am also done with the device using all the information I could find in the references I have. the base that holds everything on it seems kinda empty now but I hope after i am done with the cables and stuff (leaving this for the end of the whole modeling process) it will look fine.

enjoy the moessbauer spectrometer in all its glory, although it's a bit out of focus :/

I'll continue with the rest of the arm next, it will be some time before i start it though, very busy lately :/
hello there! long time no see... I hope some of you guys are still patiently waiting to see the progress of the model. here is some progress. I am taking baby steps because my reference material is narrowing my amount of work plus busy with my life :/

anyway, I modeled parts of the arm that holds the rat-moessbauer-mi-apxs system. I am looking for a good SIDE view of the arm, haven't came across any better reference than the one I am posting and this is not at all helpful. I think that the part that is exactly above the bottom round cylinder (one in the circle) is not round and the bolts seem to be held at pairs. in the rear side of the cylindric part (where red arrow points in the circle) I made there's some sort of film held on it - managed to realize that it gets underneath the cylindric part and into the rear part of the right red arrow (shown in the 2nd reference pic I am posting), clear pictures of the rear side -meaning they can provide me with visual info - will be really helpful as well. it is very tiring staring at pictures for hours and not getting any results. Expecting your support guys.

QUOTE (scooterlord @ Jan 26 2007, 12:29 AM) *
hello there! long time no see... Expecting your support guys.

I wish I could help but you are so far ahead of me I just can't even begin to make suggestions on how to help out. For now let me just say - WOW! I wish I could help but this isn't my area of expertise - however I really do hope you get the help you need and you end up giving us some cool shots of your model of our dear lil rovers.
I'm never very keen on "me too" postings, but I have to agree with Helvick. This is a stunning piece of work. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we're all eager to see this project develop. It's fantastic.

Bob Shaw
It's textbook stuff - and needs to find a home in a textbook!

Most impressive!

Bob Shaw
One more <clinck> to the swearbox. smile.gif
It should be a very hard work, but the results are impressive!

I was wondering if an image of Opportunity's IDD during those times at Olympia, while driving with the arm unstowed, would help...
Here is one of those, taken by the navcam on sol 717: (click on the image to see the full-res)
Click to view attachment

If I understood you right, I think that area within the red circle is squared and seems to be the base part where a connector is plugged.
teshneier thanks, but I need MUCH more clearer reference to do what I am doing :/ I am mostly interested in the part of the arm shown on the left on this picture where the equipment connects to the arm. that white roundy thing. I browsed most of the online photos of both mers in order to get reference.. very tiring work. even browsing them on my disk is tough to get the information i need. Anyway I need front and rear sides of that white roundy thing (previous image I posted on the right where the arrow points). It would help a lot!

thanks for the support so far guys smile.gif really need it smile.gif hope i get some new work done soon enough to keep you interested!
A couple of pictures that may be helpful...

Click to view attachment

Click to view attachment
...and a couple more.

Click to view attachment

Click to view attachment
mars armer!! where the hell did you get these??? smile.gif I only had the first one! great! that's wonderful news guys! smile.gif I'm really excited, I'll get back to work as soon as possible! smile.gif thanks again! btw, wish I had these photos a bit earlier, I was struggling to make things out expecially for the moessbauer from reference you wouldn't imagine you could get information out of. good news is that my model came really nicely and seems quite accurate judging by a quick glance at these photos.

hmm, looks like I was right, by studying the last reference pic there's a strange shape where I circled in my last render, I can make it out now, cool! and the back of the arm is ultra clear! my imagination will continue from then on but this stuff is really helpful!

just in case you guys come up with an reference found in strange sites, what i need are:

pics of the whole arm, especially where it binds with the body
the body (i have quite good reference, hi-res photos, but the more the better)
*****i need the high gain antennae's part that holds the film that connects to the body (check eariler in this thread)
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