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Emily LakdawallaAugust 8, 2012

Grab your 3D glasses for this view of Curiosity's landscape on Mars

Curiosity fired up her Navigational Cameras on Sol 2 and began to take a look around her. The first four full-resolution frames are enough for a small 3D panorama that shows a lovely landscape. I think we're going to like it here!

First two-frame Navcam mosaic from Curiosity (with anaglyph)

NASA / JPL / James Canvin

First two-frame Navcam mosaic from Curiosity (with anaglyph)
Curiosity took the photos for this mosaic on sol 2 (August 8, 2012). The view is north, toward Gale crater's rim, 20 kilometers away. In the foreground, two patches of blasted terrain show where the landing rockets impinged on the ground.

I think it's a pretty safe assumption that those two dark craters with bright splashes around them in the left foreground show where the descent rockets were impinging on the ground as the Skycrane gently lowered Curiosity to a landing. That suggests to me that the soil around here really is pretty disturbed, and I wonder if it would be better to drive Curiosity a little way away from the landing site before firing up the instruments on the robotic arm. If they don't address that at this morning's briefing, I'll ask about it.

And now, you're going to want to find your red-blue 3D glasses. If you don't have some, buy some. Search Amazon for "red cyan 3d glasses" and you'll find lots of inexpensive options. I like having the plastic frame ones much better than the cheapo cardboard ones, and they're only a few bucks a pair.

First two-frame Navcam mosaic from Curiosity (anaglyph)

NASA / JPL / James Canvin

First two-frame Navcam mosaic from Curiosity (anaglyph)
Curiosity took the photos for this mosaic on sol 2 (August 8, 2012). The view is north, toward Gale crater's rim, 20 kilometers away. In the foreground, two patches of blasted terrain show where the landing rockets impinged on the ground. This version of the image is a red-blue 3D anaglyph.

Those mountains in the distance are so, so lovely. We have never landed in such dramatic topography before. There's a big hollow in the middle distance, and then some brighter terrain toward the right side that corresponds to brighter terrain visible in the HiRISE image of the landing site (which I hope to write about some time today, so stay tuned for that). But that's not the direction we really want to go. Behind this view, on the opposite side of the rover, is the mountain. I can't wait for our first view of that!!

Read more: pretty pictures, 3D, 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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