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Emily LakdawallaAugust 6, 2012

Getting the most out of those first images from Mars

It's such a rare joy to be able to dive into the images returned from a brand-new mission. The very first images that come to Earth and get posted on the Web are usually of relatively poor quality compared to what comes later, and Curiosity's are no exception to that rule. That's okay; it just presents more of a challenge to the amateur image processing community to get the most out of those brand-new looks at a new place in the solar system.

I think that the prize for "Best Use of Ratty Early Image Data" on Curiosity (so far) goes to James Canvin, who took two versions of Curiosity's sol 0 rear hazcam photo (this one and this one), merged the foreground of one with the background of the other, and then de-fish-eyed the result to make this panoramic view of Curiosity's landing site, out to the rim of Gale crater, with the setting Sun overhead. Pretty spectacular, considering the starting material!

Highly processed version of Curiosity sol 0 rear hazcam image

NASA / JPL / James Canvin

Highly processed version of Curiosity sol 0 rear hazcam image
This photo, processed by James Canvin, wrings everything possible from two versions of a rear hazard avoidance camera photo taken by Curiosity shortly after landing.

Read more: pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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