It is likely that you will not get the chance to visit Mars in your lifetime. Unless, that is, you are a billionaire set to live till the year 2050 or beyond!

However, a new project has accurately mapped a 3D visualisation of martian terrain, providing one of the most accurate 3D animations of the red planet ever seen.

British animation breakthrough

The latest vision of Mars comes from British 3D animator Doug Ellison, who has created a virtual camera that flies 300 feet above the martian terrain in the southwest corner of Candor Chasima and the immense Valles Marineris canyon system.

"After looking at hundreds of pictures of Mars over the years, this visualisation made me realise how alien the martian terrain really is," notes Discovery News' Ray Villard. "Yes, as on Earth aeolian and hydrological processes sculpt Mars, but it's all in 1/3rd gravity! So the towering spires, steep sand dunes, buttes and other features look spindly."

The virtual 3D martian terrain was built from a comparison of pairs of NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE views

The animator has now set up a fascinating YouTube channel called MARS3DdotCOM with other visualisations for you to marvel at.

Via Discovery