Emily LakdawallaAug 23, 2012

The definitive version of Curiosity's first color panorama

Curiosity's first color panoramic view of her landing site cut off the top of Gale's central mountain. It was taken on sol 3, the third full day of the mission, while the rover was still mostly executing pre-canned commands. On sol 13 (August 19), they shot several images to fill in the missing bits of the mountain, and yesterday the full-resolution versions of those images were finally returned to Earth.

Damien Bouic assembled them into a panorama, but I still found the jagged black upper border distracting. I asked him to fill in the sky to make the panoramic view more pleasing. Although part of the sky is artificial, I like this version a lot better. For me, this will be the definitive version of this mosaic, the one worth printing.

Curiosity's first complete color panorama
Curiosity's first complete color panorama Curiosity captured most of the data used to compose this 360-degree panoramic view on sol 3; the peak of the mountain wasn't imaged until sol 13. This version of the image has an artificial sky added to increase the height of the image.Image: NASA / JPL / MSSS / Damia Bouic

There were some other fun images returned yesterday. My favorite was this one, one of three Mastcam views of some of the hardware on the rover's deck. This one is the inlet cover for the Chemin instrument. Click to enlarge it and look at the bundles of wires. From a distance, it looks like they are bundled with zip ties. Examine it at Mastcam resolution, though, and it becomes clear that they are actually tied together. With a kind of woven cord. With knots. Knots. It's funny to think that with all the advanced technology on this rover, the best method to solve this one little engineering problem, bundling wires together, uses a technology that predates the rise of Homo sapiens, and which is even used by birds.

Wires on Curiosity
Wires on Curiosity Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

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