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Damia BouicMay 6, 2015

Sunset on Mars

A version of this post originally appeared on Damia Bouic's blog. It has been edited and reposted here with her permission.


Long before Curiosity's landing, the description of the color camera made ​​me dream: I imagined what wonderful pictures we could get of sunsets and sunrises on Mars. They finally came on sol 956, the 15th of April, 2015. Three years. We had to wait three years before the team who is responsible for the mission dared at last to point the powerful MastCam toward a sunset. And I have to say, theses pictures are gorgeous!

These pictures came back to Earth in black and white, with a Bayer matrix. [Read this blog post for an explainer on Mastcam's Bayer-filter images. -Ed.] I had to process them through GIMP with GMIC in order to rebuild the colors. A little processing in Pixelmator to remove these ugly white stripes due to overloaded pixels; a little bit of denoising to remove artifacts of the Bayer matrix, and voila!

Here are the pictures, all in PNG format. The last two frames were taken by the higher-zoom Mastcam-100.

Sunset on Mars

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Sunset on Mars
The 34mm eye of the Mastcam aboard Curiosity took this view of the sun setting over Gale Crater on sol 956 of the mission (April 15, 2015).
Sunset on Mars, Curiosity sol 956

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Sunset on Mars, Curiosity sol 956
Sunset on Mars, Curiosity sol 956

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Sunset on Mars, Curiosity sol 956
Sunset on Mars, Curiosity sol 956

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Sunset on Mars, Curiosity sol 956
Telephoto view of sunset on Mars

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Telephoto view of sunset on Mars
Curiosity's 100mm Mastcam camera captured this view of the sun setting over Gale Crater on sol 956 of the mission (April 15, 2015).
Sunset over Gale Crater

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Sunset over Gale Crater
Curiosity's 100mm Mastcam camera captured this view of the sun setting over Gale Crater on sol 956 of the mission (April 15, 2015).
Comparison of midsol vs sunset sky horizon colors, sol 956

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic

Comparison of midsol vs sunset sky horizon colors, sol 956

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

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