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Curiosity Transmits First 360-Degree Panorama From Mars 108

Posted by timothy
from the posted-with-instagram dept.
redletterdave writes with this snippet from the IB Times: "Five days after NASA's Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars, the one-ton robot sent another postcard back to Earth, this one a 360-degree doozy. Curiosity's first panorama, albeit black-and-white, gives Earthlings a great high-quality glimpse at the surface on Mars, specifically within the 96-mile Gale Crater."
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Curiosity Transmits First 360-Degree Panorama From Mars

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  • by iONiUM (530420) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @12:40PM (#40958027) Homepage Journal

    Okay, that link is not only choppy on my 4 core 8gb ram system (I have no idea why), but it's also in black and white.

    Here's one that is in color, and much better: http://panoramas.dk/mars/greeley-haven.html [panoramas.dk].

  • nasa.gov (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Saturday August 11, 2012 @12:41PM (#40958033) Homepage Journal
  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Saturday August 11, 2012 @12:44PM (#40958065)

    This rover actually does have color cameras on it. The primary navigation cameras are B&W, but there are two color 2-mpixel cameras used for sending back photos. NASA has some information on that [nasa.gov]. Not sure why the linked image here is in B&W. Perhaps they sometimes take B&W photos to save bandwidth? The MarsEarth link is 29 kbit, basically '90s modem speed.

  • by nissin (706707) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @12:45PM (#40958081)
    That may be color, but it is the wrong rover! For those wondering why they don't take color photos...they do, but they take much longer to downlink. They are transmitting small thumbnails first, then full size B&W images, then they will do the full res color photos and videos, over the coming days/weeks/months. This way they can get initial images to check for any damage, etc as quickly as possible.
  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @12:50PM (#40958115)

    Since these are science missions, the camera isn't equipped with a fixed Bayer pattern filter in front of the sensor. Instead it uses exchangeable filters. You can't make an interchangeable Bayer pattern filter, so they have to take three pictures to capture the red, green and blue channels separately. In addition to "sciency" filters, Curiosity also has filters for "human perception" color photography, whereas the spectra that were combined into color pictures from earlier missions did not match human perception because they were optimized just for the science. Curiosity should give us a first glimpse of what Mars would like like to human eyes (although it appears that they were not that far off before, see here [fotoausflug.de].

  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:01PM (#40958219)

    I am not an astrophysicist, but this is my understanding. The cameras are not like normal digital cameras. Regular digital cameras use 4 sensors per pixel (with different color filters) [wikipedia.org] to take color pictures. This causes artifacts in the image because the different colors in a pixel are actually measuring different parts of the image, so some demosaicing algorithms are used to remove the artifacts. Additionally, the spectral bandwidth of the color filters (how much of what wavelengths they let through) in the camera is fixed (and generally set to approximate the human eye response -- color is not an objective measurement and is generally defined based on measurements of how people perceive different wavelengths of light).

    Cameras used for scientific work are less concerned with making things look like the human eye would perceive them and more concerned with obtaining accurate and well-controlled images. Such cameras generally consist of an array of unfiltered sensors with an external, exchangeable, color filter. These color filters may vary from wide-bandwidth filters (for grayscale), to extremely narrow-band filters that only pass wavelengths within a few nanometers of the center frequency (useful for verifying structure or composition of objects).

    Look for some pseudo-color images later. They just need to take the same picture 3 or more times with the appropriate sets of filters and then combine them into an image that approximates what someone would see.

  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:08PM (#40958283) Homepage Journal

    Nasa's web site [nasa.gov] is the first place I look. There's a treasure trove of beautiful high resolution photos, movies, data. The photo you're looking for is there. I linked the panoramic shot in a comment farther down.

  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nissin (706707) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:13PM (#40958333)
    They have already downloaded a number of color photos you can find online, including a color panorama. http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/ [nasa.gov]
  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:12PM (#40958815)

    Correction: The older rovers had to take three pictures for a color picture and lacked the human perception filters. Curiosity has color cameras: the Mastcams on the same mast as the black-and-white navigation cameras, a downward pointing camera for taking pictures of the descent, and a camera on the instrument arm. The Mastcams have filter wheels with narrowband and neutral density filters that can be added on top of the fixed Bayer pattern filter.

  • Re:Color? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @03:29PM (#40959387)

    Shouldn't that be LMO instead of LEO?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @07:41PM (#40960801)

    Its funny the links people actually choose to share .... random business media is a funny source when one could just go straight to the JPL MSL page. The picture in the stories linked article is from the black and white NAVCAM. We just released the full color Mastcam partial mosaic today:

    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=4421

    Note the link on that page to the FULL resolution image.

    -A

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