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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

The first Curiosity 360-degree panorama including the mountain

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla

18-08-2012 10:45 CDT

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

UPDATE: There's a Navcam view of the mound! See below.

The Curiosity mission team appears to be in no hurry to command the rover to take photos with Navcam or Mastcam that reach to the peak of the mountain at the center of Gale crater. (I'm not complaining; they have more important things to do right now. Well, maybe I am complaining, just a little bit.)

So space enthusiast Damien Bouic has stepped into the breach, doing his best with the only photo we have that reaches the mountaintop: the one taken by the rover's forward Hazard Avoidance camera on the day of the landing. It's a wide-angle, fisheye camera, so the view is pretty low-resolution, and there's a divot at the right side where a piece of Curiosity obstructed the view. But it gives us a taste of what's to come.

EDIT: Daniel Fischer has correctly pointed out that we are not seeing the actual topmost point on the mountain; the highest point is not visible, over the horizon. I'm still calling what we are seeing a "peak."

You can download a static version from his blog (which he has laid out as a lovely poster, ready for printing), or tour the VR version below (Flash required).

Check it out! Early this morning, August 18, the rover did take Navcam photos of the mound! Here's my attempt at assembling the three frames into a mosaic:

Gale's central mountain as seen from Curiosity's landing site

NASA / JPL / Emily Lakdawalla

Gale's central mountain as seen from Curiosity's landing site
This three-frame Navcam panorama is composed of images captured at about 13:30 local solar time on sol 12.
See other posts from August 2012


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


Ron J: 08/18/2012 12:40 CDT

The interactive VR version is really great. It really appears we will be in for a few years (perhaps decade) of interesting driving and pics between the science stops with their hopefully major discoveries.

Leonidas: 08/18/2012 02:24 CDT

So spectacular!

Zorbonian: 08/18/2012 08:28 CDT

This is so cool!! I actually feel like I'm standing right there looking at the scenery - no exaggeration (in monochrome, of course, but beautiful nonetheless).

bware: 08/18/2012 08:48 CDT

Awesome! Thank you!!! Lets roll!

alpha-helix: 08/19/2012 04:07 CDT

Put the pedal to the metal, BWare! And HEY! Zorb! Good to see the ol' gang still here. This panorama is like standing at the gates of Disneyland (in this case The Wonder World) as a kid, with your parents holding you back by your belt straps as you are eager to run off and lose yourself! It's going to be a wondrous journey.

ipromesisposi: 08/19/2012 08:21 CDT

Thank you so much for the awesome work.

Hugo: 08/19/2012 09:47 CDT

Really wonderful! Go Curiosity!

Dillzio: 08/20/2012 11:23 CDT

I love that VR panoroma, it's like being there. They have colourised some of the navcam images now, it would be great if that could colourise that VR panorama too

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