Panorama from NASA Mars rover shows Mount Sharp

March 16, 2013
This mosaic of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows Mount Sharp in a white-balanced color adjustment that makes the sky look overly blue but shows the terrain as if under Earth-like lighting. White-balancing helps scientists recognize rock materials based on their experience looking at rocks on Earth. The Martian sky would look more of a butterscotch color to the human eye. White balancing yields an overly blue hue in images that have very little blue information, such as Martian landscapes, because the white balancing tends to overcompensate for the low inherent blue content. This mosaic was assembled from dozens of images from the 100-millimeter-focal-length telephoto lens camera mounted on the right side of the Mastcam instrument. The component images were taken during the 45th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's mission on Mars (Sept. 20, 2012). The sky has been filled out by extrapolating color and brightness information from the portions of the sky that were captured in images of the terrain. Credit: NASA

( —Rising above the present location of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, higher than any mountain in the 48 contiguous states of the United States, Mount Sharp is featured in new imagery from the rover.

A pair of mosaics assembled from dozens of telephoto images shows in dramatic detail. The component images were taken by the 100-millimeter-focal-length telephoto lens camera mounted on the right side of Curiosity's remote sensing mast, during the 45th Martian day of the rover's mission on Mars (Sept. 20, 2012).

This layered mound, also called Aeolis Mons, in the center of Gale Crater rises more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the location of Curiosity. Lower slopes of Mount Sharp remain a destination for the mission, though the rover will first spend many more weeks around a location called "Yellowknife Bay," where it has found evidence of a past environment favorable for .

A version of the mosaic that has been white-balanced to show the terrain as if under Earthlike lighting, which makes the sky look overly blue, is here. White-balanced versions help scientists recognize rock materials based on their terrestrial experience. The Martian sky would look like more of a butterscotch color to the human eye. A version of the mosaic with raw color, as a typical smart-phone camera would show the scene, is here. The white-balanced and raw images are both available with pan and zoom functionality on GigaPan at and , respectively.

In both versions, the sky has been filled out by extrapolating color and brightness information from the portions of the sky that were captured in images of the terrain.

NASA's Mars project is using Curiosity and the rover's 10 to investigate 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 the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, and built the rover.

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1.8 / 5 (8) Mar 16, 2013
The low dark patches in the foreground look interesting, almost look like water.
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 16, 2013
Beautiful shot. That blue sky makes it seem like Earth.
1 / 5 (6) Mar 16, 2013
Our visual system automatically white balances what we see. One wonders what it would do on Mars, would it adjust as it does on Earth? Our visual system adjusts to incandescent and fluorescent lighting, why not on Mars as well?
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2013
It makes you think who will be the first human to lay foot on that untouched planet, since its creation. I wish to see the first human on Mars and in HD (probably better than 4k HD). I'm just in love with space.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 16, 2013
What would would be helpful is to paste a picture of a high earthly peak, like Mont-Blanc, to scale, next to the Marsian shot. From this photo one cannot get a clue of the scale...
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 16, 2013
It is interesting that we are becoming almost blase about the accomplishment.
I would like to have had a geologists interpretation of the scene. The dark patch at the bottom of the mountain looks like a dried up lake bed. To the extreme right I see rounded erosion features that would be familiar on Earth but which I would Not have anticipated on Mars. If I squint at the sedimentation above the rounded features (On the right) I am almost convinced that I see folding, which would indicate tectonic activity (More evidence please)
It is interesting that the exposed sedimentary cliffs should be at the base of the mountain.
We can be fooled by the apparent ordinariness of the landscape into accepting features that should not exist on a airless, dead, dry planet.
1 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2013
It's funny, one might think they forgot to alter this image as with all the others from Mars. Or perhaps they've decided to show people that the sky is in fact blue.
1 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2013
@Arcbird how do you know "they" have not altered it? The techniques have become very sophisticated since the early years of air brushing. Look at early moon photos for obvious carefully selected distorted areas and later Mars shots w/ a strange, fog like coverage. Very effective but also very suspicious. ESA is good at this too.

It's interesting how many "1" ratings there are here - makes me suspicious that there are a few unimaginative childish trolls doing the ratings.
1 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2013
Again, NASA feeding the public false information. The sky on Mars IS blue. There is a lot more going on than they care to share with us. Look at this: Check out the self portrait of Curiosity. In that image there is a little dust in the atmosphere. In this new image of Mt Sharp is what it looks like on a nice clear day on Mars.
3 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2013
I endorse this photo.

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