Beagle 2 might be keeping Mars' secrets to itself but you can unlock the incredible detail of the pictures sent back by the US's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, thanks to a Mac application called Maestro.

Maestro is a scientific visualization tool created by NASA scientists. According to NASA's Gene Chalfant: “It’s actually the same software that the scientists use to view downlink data and to plan Rover activities from day to day,” and it can be downloaded for free.

NASA will provide fresh sets of image data that can be downloaded and viewed using Maestro once a week for the next 12 weeks.

According to Chalfant: “It’s kind of a sandbox for people to play in. The visualization tools builds a 3-D model you can spin around and look at.”

According to the article on Apple's Hot News section, this is the first time this kind of information has ever been made available to such a wide range of enthusiasts outside of NASA.

If you were thinking of moving to the Red Planet some time this century download Maestro and check it out. "The image processing and 3-D visualization demands strong hardware," warns Chalfant, and a 500 MHz PowerPC processor, preferably 1.5 Ghz; 256MB RAM, preferably 1GB; 500MB available disk space, preferably 10GB; and a 3-D hardware-accelerated graphics card with lots of video memory, are recommended.

Maestro requires Mac OS X 10.3.1 or later, Apple’s Java3D and JavaAI Advanced Imaging extensions.