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Jason DavisAugust 10, 2012

Curiosity's high-res Navcam panorama in striking color

So far, the only high-resolution surface panorama we've seen from Curiosity is the black and white Navcam image. The Mastcam shot a color panorama, but the only version we have so far was created from the lower-resolution thumbnails.

Why sit around and wait for the bigger version? Over at unmannedspaceflight.com, Bjorn Jonsson has colorized the black and white Navcam panorama using color and luminosity data from the Mastcam images, and the result is jaw-dropping. I'll let Bjorn explain it for you:

Here is an image created by colorizing the Navcam panorama from the Mastcam thumbnail panorama. Since I don't have any information on the exact viewing geometry or projection etc. of the two panoramas I measured lots of control points in the two images and then used these to warp/resize the Mastcam image and then copied the luminosity information from the Navcam image into the warped Mastcam image. I then made minor manual adjustments to the lander color where color information is available but I was mainly interested in Mars' color.

This was partially experimental - I have often done something similar when processing Voyager mosaics of Jupiter where only minor warping is needed (typically only for parts of an image where images overlap) but here a lot of warping was required everywhere. This turned out way better than I expected:

Curiosity's Navcam panorama, colorized

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Bjorn Jonsson

Curiosity's Navcam panorama, colorized
A color version of Curiosity's high-resolution Navcam panorama, created using color and luminosity data from the Mastcam thumnail panorama.

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

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Jason Davis

Journalist and Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
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