From GigaPan: NASA’s First Billion-Pixel Image of the Rover Curiosity Brings the Red Planet to Life June 19, 2013
- Technology from GigaPan is being used to display images taken by the Mars rover Curiosity, a NASA mission investigating past and present environments within the Gale Crater on Mars. Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, the rover landed in August 2012 and is the latest mission to explore the red planet. Equipped with a camera capable of capturing gigapixel-quality images of the Martian landscape, the rover sends back stunning images that scientists compile into expansive panoramas, including NASA’s first billion-pixel panorama, released today.
The new 1.3-billion-pixel image
was stitched together from nearly 900 individual images to showcase the details of the Mars landscape. The image highlights the site where Curiosity collected its first scoops of sand at a windblown patch called “Rocksnest,” and extends to Mount Sharp on the horizon. The public can explore the image and more panoramas from Curiosity as part of a new NASA JPL Curiosity gallery
on the GigaPan website.
NASA is using high-definition panoramas
to support Curiosity’s goal of investigating the environmental history within Gale Crater, a location where the project has found that conditions were long ago favorable for microbial life. By capturing the gigapixel-quality images of the planet’s landscape, scientists are able to identify new targets to investigate and new material for ongoing studies of Mars.
By displaying images on the GigaPan website, JPL is able to give viewers the opportunity to explore Mars with the rover and investigate a landscape that cannot be explored by humans. Additionally, the interactive capabilities of GigaPan images allow people to zoom in to the surface of Mars to see details, including individual rocks, grains, dust ripples and other features of the red planet.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with NASA in sharing unique images of Mars with the public. This gigapixel image of the rover allows viewers to see incredible detail,” said Josh Friedman, CEO of GigaPan. “The NASA JPL gallery on the GigaPan site allows researchers and the general public to zoom in on the intricate features of unique terrain in these Mars images. We hope this level of interactivity will not only support the mission’s overall research goals, but also help increase public interest in the Mars exploration program.”
As the Curiosity rover carries out the rest of its two-year Martian trek, it will continue to send back stunning images of the Martian landscape. There’s no certainty in what the rover will encounter, but with GigaPan, NASA is able to share a view of Mars that will offer significant insight into a place never before explored by humans. To learn more, please visit the JPL press release