Subject: Billion-Pixel View From Curiosity
From: Alex Kemp
Date: Thursday, 20 June 2013 08:31:00 +0100
To: Micaela Kemp, Liisa Kemp, Davin Kemp

NASA has published a panoramic-vista of the view of Mars from Curiosity (the lander that is investigating the surface of Mars). It contains a billion pixels!
(Cylindrical Viewer, White-Balanced, for full-screen)

For best, you need as big a screen as possible, with JavaScript *on*. It uses MicroSoft Silverlight to allow you to pan ‘n’ zoom around the entire 360 degree panorama, so some mobiles may not be able to handle that (It’s fine for me using FireFox under winXP).

It is absolutely magnificent; I do not think that you would want to live there, but to be able to see the surface of another planet in such detail is (literally) out of this world. It is composed of a mosaic of (almost) 900 individual pictures taken by 3 different cameras, one of which is in black & white. The pictures were taken across a number of days (between October 5 and November 16, 2012), and the visibility differed on different days. It contains a total of 1.3 billion pixels (1,300,000,000).

It has snapshots of different things to look at (which auto-zoom in when you click on them - very cool). Here are one or two previews to whet your appetite:

A “bird-shaped rock”:

A rock shaped like a bird

NASA says that this was done by wind-erosion, but of course we know better!

Dish-shaped rock:

A rock shaped like a dish

NASA says that this “looks like a flying saucer”. I think that they have been working too hard.

Mount Sharp:

Mount Sharp (the mission destination)

This is Curiosity’s ultimate destination. The caption says that it is 3 miles (5 km) high.

Alex Kemp