NASA JPL sends word today that image processing lab specialists have assembled a billion-pixel view from the surface of Mars, from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The 1.3-billion-pixel image is offered with pan and zoom tools here.
It's the first NASA-produced view from the surface of Mars at this resolution, and is stitched together from close to 900 exposures taken by cameras onboard Curiosity, revealing details of the landscape along the rover's route.
Here's a "manageable" download of the full image. More from the JPL news release, below.
The full-circle 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.
"It gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras' capabilities," said Bob Deen of the
Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Calif. "You can see the context and also zoom in to see very fine details."
Deen assembled the product using 850 frames from the telephoto camera of Curiosity's Mast
Camera instrument, supplemented with 21 frames from the Mastcam's wider-angle camera and
25 black-and-white frames — mostly of the rover itself — from the Navigation Camera. 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. Mars fans worldwide have used those images
to assemble mosaic views, including at least one gigapixel scene.
The new mosaic from NASA shows illumination effects from variations in the time of day for
pieces of the mosaic. It also shows variations in the clarity of the atmosphere due to variable
dustiness during the month while the images were acquired.
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.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates Curiosity's Mastcam. JPL, a
division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate in Washington and built the Navigation Camera and the rover.