Mars Curiosity image of the day: first pic by Navigation cameras includes an augmented reality tag

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory today received and published the first photograph shot by the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover.

It shows the shadow of the rover's now-upright mast in the center, and the arm's shadow at left. The arm itself can be seen in the foreground. The navigation camera is used to help find the sun -- information that is needed for locating, and communicating, with Earth. After the camera pointed at the sun, it turned in the opposite direction and took this picture. The position of the shadow helps confirm the sun's location. The "augmented reality" or AR tag seen in the foreground can be used in the future with smart phones to obtain more information about the mission.

(via Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)


      1. fwiw, in yesterday’s press conference, not only did they mention it was an AR tag, but they said it it was a low res pixelated representation of the rover itself as well.

  1. why did they put a picture of the rover on the rover?

    i mean.. they could have had bob dobbs scratching his chin with a ? above his head.

    or curious george?

    1. That’s so you can tell easily which rover it is! Public domain means lots of people who can’t recognise one rover from another, so name tags in shot make sense.  The number of photos I’ve had posted to me from Spirit and Oppy (solar panels, y’see, but you have to be at least a B-grade space nerd to know that) claiming to be from Curiosity… eesh. 

  2. I hope Curiosity put on its free staring-into-sun cardboard glasses before staring into the sun.

  3. At the BB meetup Bruce Sterling demonstrated an AR phone app that made robots and monsters and stuff appear to be standing on the table when you put a coded piece of paper on it. I can only assume that this is what they’re planning here :)

  4. Rereading the text from the JPL “The “augmented reality” or AR tag seen in the foreground can be used in the future with smart phones to obtain more information about the mission. ”

    The fact that it mentions being used in the future, rather than today, suggests that this isnt a supported just yet.

  5. Fru-fru poser gadget p0rn when a simple US Govt. standard issue stenciled ‘curiosity’ would do.  I imagine some contractor got piles of money for delivering this silly tack on bit of BS.

  6. They talked about the ARTag in the JPL press conference on 2012-08-09 also.  It is used, e.g., by NASA’s Spacecraft 3D app:

    For background, see the site

    But note that there seems to be a problem with the original ARTag implementation, developed at Canada’s National Research Council.  It isn’t available any more from them, and the programmer that wrote it (Mark Fiala) is trying to get it released.

  7. See some examples of Augmented Reality using ARTag on youtube, e.g. this one, especially towards the end:

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