Curiosity Snaps First Color Panorama Of Mars

A portion of Curiosity’s first 360-degree hi-res color panorama shows the slope of Mt. Sharp in the distance plus gray patches in the foreground from the descent stage’s rocket engines blasting the ground. Click to explore the full, fab hi-res version. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Who could let the day go by without checking in Curiosity? Let me guess – taking pictures again? I’m happy to report that the high-resolution cameras were used today to shoot the first color panorama. The photo above looks kind of ordinary until you click it and arrive at the full panorama. Wait till you see the luscious detail.

Rocks and Mars dirt are sprinkled atop the rover in this picture taken with one of the navigational cameras on the mast. Click to see the full panorama. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The same is true with the second image. It’s another high-resolution panorama but in black and white and taken with one of the NavCam’s. I’ve cropped it down to show only the top of the rover, the better to see the dirt and rocks that landed there from the sky crane’s rocket exhaust. Had the rover landed using rockets all the way to the ground into of being dropped from a height by the sky crane, the amount of debris tossed up might have damaged equipment. So while it looks nasty – we wish we had a broom – it’s much cleaner than it might otherwise be. Let’s hope a dust devil comes by soon to give Curiosity a clean sweep.

See more photos HERE.

2 Responses

  1. jim

    The title/wording on this post is a bit ambiguous. Technically this is the first color panorama — from Curiosity. There was a color panorama from Opportunity released by NASA a month ago…

    1. astrobob

      Jim,
      True – adding the word “its” would have left no ambiguity. I titled it that because I figured the context would be understood. The very first Martian panoramas were taken by the Viking landers in 1976. Pathfinder followed with its own in 1997, and Spirit (when it was still operating) and Opportunity have taken many panoramas over the years. Here are a few early ones: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/mars_panoramas.html

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