See Mars come to life in 79-image color mosaic from Curiosity

To put all the megapixel nuts in their place, NASA's released this high-resolution color mosaic of Mars stitched together from 79 photos. We can't remember the last time we were so enchanted by rocky mesas.

What you see below is Mars' terrain as captured by Curiosity's 34-millimeter Mascam over an hour's time on August 8. The black sections you see are images that haven't been beamed back to Earth yet. NASA says that the full panorama will eventually include 130 photos.

(Click to enlarge)


Incredible, isn't it? For photo purists who absolutely must know how much post-processing has gone into a photo, NASA has an explanation:

"The colors in the main image are unmodified from those returned by the camera. While it is difficult to say whether this is what a human eye would see, it is what a cell phone or camcorder would record since the Mastcam takes color pictures in the exact same manner that consumer cameras acquire color images. The colors in a second version linked to the main image have been modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing," is useful for scientists to be able to recognize and distinguish rocks by color in more familiar lighting."

To see larger an even larger image, hit up NASA's website. They've got an original that's over 10,000 pixels wide!


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