Ever since Pluto was demoted from the status of planet to dwarf planet, I’ve felt badly for it. I don’t necessarily disagree with the change (as there are some compelling reasons it shouldn’t be in the same category as the other planets) but since it’s still such a cool place I was excited for the first set of pictures to come back from New Horizons last year.
Recently, I was exploring methods to project images onto curved surfaces and considered using JMP for the process. Finding myself looking at one of the resent Mercator projections of Pluto, I decided to use it as my first test case. After that was working, applying the process to other planets and moons was a simple extension.
Download and run the “planets_in_JMP.jsl” file with the JPEG files in the same folder and you should be good to go. The code is fairly basic with lots left for you to improve, change, and explore (especially different resolutions and point sizes). Try out other celestial bodies following the pattern in the script. Finally, I spin the planet (or moon) for 360 degrees at the end of the script but comment that out if you want to rotate it yourself with the arcball. (Let me know if you work on Saturn… ) Happy JMPing!
Planet Texture Map Collection offers some artistic bitmaps. JMP's 3D support does not currently implement texture maps, but jlsalmon technique is a clever work-around if there are not too many objects with too many points of color.