While NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has been wandering over the surface of the Red Planet, it has been taking images with its various on-board cameras. Now, NASA is showing off a 1.3-billion-pixel panoramic view of the Red Planet for all to see. This new image stitches together over 900 exposures taken by Curiosity’s cameras and shows striking detail of the planet’s landscape.
The full-circle scene surrounds the site where Curiosity first collected samples of dusty sand, a patch on Mars called Rocknest.
“It gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras’ capabilities,” said Bob Deen of the Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “You can see the context and also zoom in to see very fine details.”
The panorama was assembled using 850 frames from Curiosity’s Mast Camera instrument and then supplemented with 21 additional frames from a wider-angle camera and 25 black and white frames. The images were taken between October 5 and November 16, 2012. Many of the raw single-frame images have already been made available by NASA on its website, but this new billion-pixel panoramic shows a great deal more detail than previously seen — right down to each individual nook, cranny and rock.
The new mosaic shows illumination effects from variations in the time of day for its separate pieces. It also shows variations in the clarity of the atmosphere due to dust during the month when the images were being taken.
You can explore this image fully with pan and zoom controls on NASA’s Mars Exploration website.