Curiosity sends high-resolution color images from Gale crater

Aug 13, 2012
This image is the first high-resolution color mosaic from NASA's Curiosity rover, showing the geological environment around the rover's landing site in Gale Crater on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

(Phys.org) -- NASA's Curiosity rover has shipped back to Earth high-resolution color images of its surroundings on Mars, sharpening our views of an intriguing channel, layered buttes and a layer of cobbles and pebbles embedded in a finer matrix of material. The images show a landscape closely resembling portions of the southwestern United States, adding to the impression gained from the lower-resolution thumbnail images released earlier this week.

The 79 images that went into the large mosaics were taken on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9, EDT) by 's 34-millimeter Mastcam. The black areas indicate high-resolution images not yet returned by the rover.

The full-resolution image are available at: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl… imedia/pia16051.html.

Curiosity sent lower-resolution versions of these images earlier in the week. The latest versions, sent while Curiosity was undergoing a software "brain transplant" and pausing in its acquisition of new , are 1,200 by 1,200 pixels.

In one version of the large mosaic, the colors portrayed are unmodified from those returned by the camera. The view is what a cell phone or camcorder would record, since the Mastcam takes color pictures in the exact same manner that consumer cameras acquire color . The second version shows the colors modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing," is useful for scientists to be able to recognize and distinguish rocks by their color in more familiar lighting.

Smaller of some of the areas most interesting to science team members are also available. One shows a section on the crater wall north of the landing site, where a network of valleys believed to have formed by water erosion enters from the outside. This is the first view scientists have had of a fluvial system - one relating to a river or stream - from the surface of .

A second section of the mosaic looks south of the landing site, towards Mount Sharp, a peak that is about 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) high and taller than Mt. Whitney in California. This provides an overview of the eventual geologic targets Curiosity will explore in the next two years. Close by is a rock-strewn, gravelly surface. Farther away is a dark dune field, and beyond that lie the layered buttes and mesas of the sedimentary rock of Mount Sharp.

Another section of the mosaic shows an area excavated by the blast of the Mars Science Laboratory's descent stage rockets. With the loose debris blasted away by the rockets, details of the underlying materials are clearly seen. Of particular note is a well-defined, topmost layer that contains fragments of rock embedded in a matrix of finer material.

Curiosity continues to be very healthy, with all instruments and engineering subsystems operating as planned. There are no science or instrument activities planned on Sol 5. Last night, the new flight software, which is optimized for surface operations, was tested for the first time and successfully executed all planned Sol 5 rover activities. The test demonstrated that the new software is ready to support the upcoming surface operations mission phase. After an afternoon nap, Curiosity then returned to operating on its previous flight software, as planned. The rover's primary main computer will be permanently transitioned to the new flight software on Aug. 13.

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User comments : 17

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sara_servalis
1 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2012
Earth Is The True Planet Of War, Not Mars (Curiosity Rover)
youtube.com/watch?v=sj5ju9ag2ZI
roboferret
not rated yet Aug 13, 2012
I've downloaded the image. Does anyone else see a shiny rock in the leftmost blast area? it seems to have rather a different colour and texture to the other rocks.
casualjoe
1.5 / 5 (2) Aug 13, 2012
People are moving away from war and more towards understanding eachother,

get with the times my friend.
Earth Is The True Planet Of War,


Some of the rocks look very interesting indeed!
Kafpauzo
1 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2012
Does anyone else see a shiny rock in the leftmost blast area? it seems to have rather a different colour and texture to the other rocks.


You mean the dark gray (almost black) and shiny canteen with the leather strap? That must have been left behind by the hoaxing crew.

You can see it more clearly in the sharper version of the picture that is available on this NASA page: http://photojourn...PIA16051

(No need to download the enormous TIFF image on that page. The JPEG image is excellent quality and very sharp.)
roboferret
not rated yet Aug 13, 2012
There is another interesting object above and to the left of that one, also shiny. I'm guessing these are harder minerals that have been polished by blown dust - although it could be a "desert varnish" effect.
Kafpauzo
1 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2012
I know nothing at all about geology and minerals, so I can't comment on the rocks. I have no idea why one rock is more interesting than another.

But apparently the hoaxing crew was unusually sloppy in cleaning up after preparing this site. Either that, or the Martians have a flourishing bottling industry.

There's an old and battered Thermos bottle to be found if you first go to the rightmost pair of blast marks, then left and slightly down to a collection of rocks near the pitch-black rectangle, then a tiny bit upward.
Sonhouse
not rated yet Aug 13, 2012
Earth Is The True Planet Of War, Not Mars (Curiosity Rover)
youtube.com/watch?v=sj5ju9ag2ZI

Well, considering there are no people on Mars, it is unlikely for there to be wars. What a stupid statement. Incredibly useful information.
Sonhouse
5 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2012
I know nothing at all about geology and minerals, so I can't comment on the rocks. I have no idea why one rock is more interesting than another.

But apparently the hoaxing crew was unusually sloppy in cleaning up after preparing this site. Either that, or the Martians have a flourishing bottling industry.

There's an old and battered Thermos bottle to be found if you first go to the rightmost pair of blast marks, then left and slightly down to a collection of rocks near the pitch-black rectangle, then a tiny bit upward.


Well, the blanked out or redacted parts of the image must be giving you fits then. What are they not revealing? Will there be a photo of a thigh bone sticking out of the surface they don't want us to see? An old Martian Ipad equivalent jutting out of the dust?
You just don't know where that will end up when they start redacting out parts of the picture......
Kafpauzo
3 / 5 (2) Aug 13, 2012
Well, the blanked out or redacted parts of the image must be giving you fits then. What are they not revealing?


Oh, those parts are no mystery. Well, to an amateur maybe. But not to me! I know exactly what they are hiding!

You see, they've been sloppy there too. They've covered the things rather carelessly. But I have discovered their secrets!

And I can reveal them!

Try searching along the borders of the black areas. If you search very, very carefully, after a while you'll start discovering certain parts that are jutting out from the black areas. Parts that don't belong in the picture.

Just search patiently, and eventually you'll find them.

The things that are jutting out are parts of a Mars rover. That's what they're hiding! They don't want us to know that there's a Mars rover there!
HeloMenelo
1 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2012
They keep on saying the pictures are altered, when are we getting pictures that actually will look they way it's suppose to look ?

ie. if i could climb on to mars and snap a pic with my phone at hi res, that's the kind of picture i'm talking about, not altered pieces half out of focus/eery looking, unnatural coloured stuff.

Also when will we get some video WITH sound ?And i'm not talking the entry video which kinda looks like a polaroid show. Nice smooth video...
mansie
5 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2012
I can't speak for anyone else, but sarcasm and nerd comments add nothing to the interest of this article. If you can't comment on the scientific aspects of the article, then please keep your geeky comments to your small circle of socially challenged associates and don't post them on here.

Deathclock
3.6 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2012
/facepalm

The images you are looking for already exist from the previous rovers... they don't look much different than this one except for the blacked out areas.

Sound? What on Earth (or Mars for that matter) do you want to hear? There is nothing to hear... they won't be transmitting sound, because there is no good reason to.

High framerate video is costly and unnecessary... this is a largely unchanging landscape, the video would consist of 10,000 identical frames...
HeloMenelo
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2012
"I can't speak for anyone else, but sarcasm and nerd comments add nothing to the interest of this article. If you can't comment on the scientific aspects of the article, then please keep your geeky comments to your small circle of socially challenged associates and don't post them on here."

That did not answer anything, so keep yours to yourself as well

DC thanks, at least you cared to post something sensible.
Sound... the sounds the rover make/ the sound of the decent stage, the sound of the rockets firing, the sound of the chute deploying.

the blast of the dust by the rockets, dust devils, sandstorms.

Regarding the video, what you say make sense, but there are ways to tweak how the video is recorded, doesn't have to be all full blown HD.
Kafpauzo
5 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2012
They keep on saying the pictures are altered, when are we getting pictures that actually will look they way it's suppose to look ?

ie. if i could climb on to mars and snap a pic with my phone at hi res, that's the kind of picture i'm talking about, not altered pieces half out of focus/eery looking, unnatural coloured stuff.

Your "pictures that actually will look they way it's suppose to look" is exactly what the above picture is. It's exactly what you'd get with your phone.

Did you read the article? It says:

"The view is what a cell phone or camcorder would record, since the Mastcam takes color pictures in the exact same manner that consumer cameras acquire color images."

In addition to that, there's also a version of the picture where you see the colors just as they'd look if the same rocks were in Earth's atmosphere and proximity to the sun:

"The second version shows the colors modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight."
Caliban
not rated yet Aug 19, 2012
Other than the vertical lines evident in the image, which I assume are artifacts from pasting the individual images together, the panorama is interesting enough --especially the darker area that you can see forming an apparent right angled corner just at the lower left corner of the leftmost, upper blackout.

I don't understand how they could leave out this section, and also the ascending slope(from the right) of the scarp or mountainside which the rightmost upper blackout covers. This same blackout area also covers what one supposes is the verge of a depression that terminates at the left side of the blackout.

So much for a "panoramic" view.

An interesting image, to be sure, but one that leaves much to be desired.

kochevnik
not rated yet Aug 19, 2012
People are moving away from war and more towards understanding eachother,
That's because it's the weekend. Business as usual on Monday.
Kafpauzo
not rated yet Aug 19, 2012
So much for a "panoramic" view.
An interesting image, to be sure, but one that leaves much to be desired.

Many of the missing pieces have already arrived in low-resolution versions, but not yet in full-resolution versions.

You can inspect the low-resolution versions here: http://www.nasa.g...full.jpg

More hi-res pieces will arrive in due time, I'm sure. They have very limited bandwidth, so it takes time.

What's the hurry? Patience!

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