A billion-pixel view of Mars from Curiosity Rover

June 20, 2013

This is a reduced version of a panorama from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity with 1.3 billion pixels in the full-resolution version. It shows Curiosity at the “Rocknest” site where the rover scooped up samples of windblown dust and sand. Curiosity used three cameras to take the component images on several different days between Oct. 5 and Nov. 16, 2012. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

A 1.3-billion-pixel image of the surface of Mars, from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, offers armchair explorers a way to examine one part of the Red Planet in great detail. It stitches together nearly 900 exposures taken by cameras onboard Curiosity and shows details of the landscape along the rover’s route.

The full image is available with pan and zoom tools at http://mars.nasa.gov/bp1/.

The 360-degree scene surrounds the site where Curiosity collected its first scoops of dusty sand at a windblown patch called “Rocknest,” and extends to Mount Sharp on the horizon.

The images were taken on several different Mars days between Oct. 5 and Nov. 16, 2012. Raw single-frame images received from Curiosity are promptly posted on a public website at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/ . Mars fans worldwide have used those images to assemble mosaic views, including at least one gigapixel scene.

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory project is using Curiosity and the rover’s 10 science instruments to investigate the environmental history within Gale Crater, a location where the project has found that conditions were long ago favorable for microbial life.