Check Out Curiosity’s First 360-Degree Color Panorama of Gale Crater

Click for larger! [Credit: NASA]
Here it is, the first 360-degree color panorama of the Gale Crater taken by the Curiosity Rover’s Mastcam. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory received their first detailed look of the Gale Crater on Thursday morning.

The panorama is actually made up of 130 low-resolution (144 by 144-pixel) thumbnails stitched together to give us a complete view of Curiosity’s surroundings. The image has also been slightly brightened since Mars receives about half the amount of sunlight that the Earth does. But overall, it’s not too shabby for a 2-megapixel camera.

[Credit: NASA]

Along with the panoramic shots, Curiosity also downlinked a few high-resolution images that contain elements of interest. In this particular image, you can see a mountain called Mount Sharp in the distance, toward the left. Mount Sharp, located in the center of the Gale Crater, is one of Curiosity’s scientific mission targets.

You might also notice the grayed-out portion of the landscape closer to the rover’s wheel. That is actually a part of gray bedrock that was revealed and scorched by the rover’s descending rockets. The scientists are eager to dig into the rock to see what secrets might be uncovered about the Martian subsurface.

What images of Mars do you want to see? Leave a comment.


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