NASA Curiosity rover snaps stunning panorama of Mars surface

Washington: NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface — containing 1.8 billion pixels.

Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

The rover’s Mast Camera, or Mastcam, relied on its medium-angle lens to also produce a lower-resolution, nearly 650-million-pixel panorama that includes the rover’s deck and robotic arm.

Both panoramas showcase Glen Torridon, a region on the side of Mount Sharp that Curiosity is exploring.

Sitting still with few tasks to do while awaiting the team to return and provide its next commands, the rover had a rare chance to image its surroundings from the same vantage point for several days in a row.

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It required more than six and a half hours over the four days for Curiosity to capture the individual shots.

“While many on our team were at home enjoying turkey, Curiosity produced this feast for the eyes,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“This is the first time during the mission we’ve dedicated our operations to a stereo 360-degree panorama”.

In 2013, Curiosity produced a 1.3-billion-pixel panorama using both Mastcam cameras — its black-and-white Navigation Cameras, or Navcams, provided images of the rover itself.

Imaging specialists carefully assemble Mars panoramas by creating mosaics composed of individual pictures and blending their edges to create a seamless look.

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