Views from the Solar System (58)

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Gale Crater Vista
NASA – This is the first 360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The panorama was made from thumbnail versions of images taken by the Mast Camera.

Scientists will take a closer look at several splotches in the foreground that appear gray. These areas show the effects of the descent stage’s rocket engines blasting the ground. What appeared as a dark strip of dunes in previous, black-and-white pictures from Curiosity can be seen along the top of this mosaic, but the color images also reveal additional shades of reddish brown around the dunes, likely indicating different textures or materials.

The images were taken on Aug. 9, 2012, by the 34-millimeter Mast Camera. This panorama mosaic was made of 130 images of 144 by 144 pixels each. Selected full frames from this panorama, which are 1,200 by 1,200 pixels each, are expected to be transmitted to Earth later. The images in this panorama were brightened in the processing. Mars only receives half the sunlight Earth does and this image was taken in the late Martian afternoon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity’s Self-Portrait
This Picasso-like self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity rover was taken by its navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. Two of the tiles are full-resolution. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity’s New Home
These are the first two full-resolution images of the Martian surface from the Navigation cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover, which are located on the rover’s “head” or mast. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground.

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The topography of the rim is very mountainous due to erosion. The ground seen in the middle shows low-relief scarps and plains. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover’s descent stage thrusters.

These are full-resolution images, 1024 by 1024 pixels in size. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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