Over the past decades we've grown used to seeing beautiful images and movie-like animations of the surface of Mars. Whether these are close-ups taken by landers and rovers, or vast panoramas built from the cameras of orbiting spacecraft, the red planet has never been more familiar.

But this sister world can still shock and stun. The following movie is the best example of this that I've seen in a long while. It was constructed by the filmmaker Jan Fröjdman by painstakingly stitching together stereo images from a database of some 50,000 high resolution stills taken by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over the past twelve years.

Rather than putting the stereo images into a direct 3D format, Fröjdman has utilized the three-dimensional information to create loci of reference points on the martian landscape that can then be used to create a realistic perspective to the panning movement as if we were truly flying above Mars (to be precise, a total of 33,000 reference points that he had to handpick). 

Colors are 'false' in the sense that the original imagery is grayscale and color has been added for effect, although tweaked to approximate many of the palettes that are accurate representations of how Mars appears. 

The final result? Well, you can be the judge of that, but the exquisite textures and grandeur of another world are hard to look away from. I'd suggest you follow the link and watch fullscreen!

A FICTIVE FLIGHT ABOVE REAL MARS from Jan Fröjdman on Vimeo.