Mars gigapixel panorama will blow your socks off

A screen grab from the new Mars Curiosity panorama shows Mt. Sharp rising to a peak inside Gale Crater. Click image to explore the interactive scene. Credit: NASA-JPL / Andrew Bodrov

Busy cooking this Easter Sunday?  If you haven’t seen the new gigapixel panorama of the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater, I strongly encourage to put down the ham, click the photo and begin your journey. The best part is that you don’t just look at it – you EXPLORE it with the touch of your mouse. This thing’s totally interactive. Select any part of the image and press the mouse button, then drag and travel. Scrolling zooms the view in and out. The level of detail is beyond belief. Once you start looking around, you might get stuck at the computer for a while.

Andrew Bodrov

Andrew Bodrov, the creator of the panorama, has been stitching pictures together for over 12 years. Although he’s mostly worked with earthly vistas, he doesn’t limit himself to one planet. Bodrov’s enjoys stitching NASA images to create immersive virtual reality panoramas of Mars including this earlier one of Curiosity’s landing site.

Panning around his panoramas is the closest we’ll get – for the time being – of standing on Mars ourselves.

Curiosity is a photojournalist’s dream with 17 different cameras. Left and right mastcam photos were used for the panorama. The one on the left uses a telephoto lens (100mm); the right camera is a 34mm wide angle. Bodrov’s panorama contains a mix of both but mostly telephoto images. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This latest panorama was compiled from 407 pictures taken over 13 days on Mars (Mars solar days 136-149) with Curiosity’s high-resolution mast cameras or mastcams. The two 2-megapixel cameras are mounted on a mast 7 feet above the ground and take both color images and video.

Earlier panorama of Curiosity at its landing site. Click to visit. Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech / Andrew Bodrov

Altogether the image contains 4 billion pixels or picture elements, giving it a sweep and resolution that will, well, blow you over. Now that the Easter ham’s in the oven, sit down for a few minutes and enjoy a well-deserved Mars vacation

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

10 thoughts on “Mars gigapixel panorama will blow your socks off

  1. Happy Easter Astro Bob!

    I realize Curiosity’s size is about that of a small car, still, without the “advances” in miniaturization, putting 17 cameras on a “rover” is one amazing feat! Were it not for its size, there wouldn’t have been room for everything needed for the near complete laboratory it also carries (along with radio receivers, transmitters and who knows how many other “scientific” pieces of equipment).

    Curiosity is one amazing rover, isn’t it? From the moment it started its “one of a kind” decent onto the Martian surface, it continues to function perfectly and also is giving us “earthlings” breath-taking visuals, audios and probably more knowledge about the planet Mars than all the other rovers combined.

    When (or if) the time comes for us to say ‘goodbye’ to Curiosity, I sure hope they decide to somehow preserve it on the surface. When (or if) humankind ever gets there and advancements are made for “colonization”, what a wonderful bounty of items will be there for us to put in museums. Either on Mars or brought back to Earth.

    I wonder if we will ever get to that point. What do you think? I try hard to remain optimistic about how far we as the “human race” will actually be able to go, physically, in our solar system and beyond.

    What a wonderful Easter “gift” for your readers, Bob. You’re wonderful and I hope your holiday is all you wanted and/or expected. You deserve it!

    Aloha For Now!

    • Hi Wayne,
      Thank you for your kind wishes and I hope you’re having a great Sunday. For both of us, it involved a brief trip to Mars. I think you’re right about preserving these wonderful machines. If the current generation keeps these programs running, we’ll get one step closer.

  2. Mars has been kind of out of my mind for now. It should be a great sight next year. I had my fourth look at Panstaars this morning with 20 power binoculars. It was not visible without them. The tail is no longer than 1 degree long. It is still fairly wide. The head is barely brighter than the tail and I estimate the magnitude now at 4.5 about 100 minutes before sunrise. I do not believe that the Moon showed any light interference that far away from it, that would interfere with the light from the comet.

    • Edward,
      Thanks for the update. I caught PANSTARRS for a few minutes tonight and plan a nice photo session with it tonight. I’m very excited about clear skies for Tuesday here so I can show my astronomy class the comet.

  3. Because of my work schedule, I will not be able to see it again till Thursday. After Friday, the forecast is for at least 5 days of cloudy skies.

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