Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Jason Davis headshot v.3

Curiosity's high-res Navcam panorama in striking color

Posted By Jason Davis

10-08-2012 19:10 CDT

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

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, 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.
See other posts from August 2012


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


fthurber: 08/11/2012 11:23 CDT

When we will get some nice shots of Mt. Sharp? After the software upgrade?

Au: 08/11/2012 06:17 CDT

I've been using Midnight Mars Browser for my MER 1 and MER 2 processing but its unlikely to be updated to download MSL's raw files :( Anybody have any insight into alternate software to use for curiosity? looking for something just like MMB if at all possible :) I am going out of my mind not knowing where to go, what I can use in it's place. It's a real shame MMB cannot be used :( ...thanks for the help- and BTW- amazing work on this picture!

Torbjörn Larsson, OM: 08/11/2012 06:36 CDT

@ fthurber: "During tonight and tomorrow's communications passes, sol 4, they should get a few of the full-resolution frames down from Mars. But only 10 or 20 will make it down before they begin the big flight software upgrade on sol 5. That effort will take at least 4 sols, and no science data will be returned during that time. So it'll be some time -- at least a week, more like two -- before the whole thing is available in full resolution. Even then, it won't include the top of the mountain. The panorama was planned and sequenced before the landing, so its pointing was pretty much random. Malin said that in the coming couple of weeks they have other preplanned image mosaics but that they will be able to adjust some parameters, shifting pointing slightly to better frame the pretty vistas in the distance, and the intriguing geology they contain." [HT Em,ily Lakdawalla, ]

Emily: 08/17/2012 08:33 CDT

Au: Go here for some useful tools.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!