NASA's Curiosity rover that landed on Mars in 2012, on Wednesday released its sharpest-ever panorama of the Martian surface. The panorama image is composed of more than 1,000 images and was captured by the rover between November 24 and December 1, last year. As announced by the American space agency, the latest image is the highest resolution panorama (at 1.8 billion pixels) of Mars that is available right now. The image was shared on NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website.
According to a note, the panorama showcases the Glen Torridon region of Mars that the Curiosity rover captured at the time it was exploring. The image not only reveals the grainy surface of Mars but also of the rover, captured by another lens of the rover. You can view the billion-pixel panorama of Mars on NASA's website.
The photos for the panorama were taken by rover's Mast Camera (also known as Mastcam) with the help of its medium-angle lens. To ensure consistent lighting, the Mastcam took photos between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm local Mars time for four days.
NASA also added the photos were taken while scientists at NASA were on Thanksgiving holiday. "While many on our team were at home enjoying turkey, Curiosity produced this feast for the eyes," said Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who leads the rover mission. "This is the first time during the mission we've dedicated our operations to a stereo 360-degree panorama," Vasavada added.
The news was also shared on rover's official Twitter handle on March 5. The post that was shared with a video explained specific areas captured by the Curiosity Rover. "Over the holidays, I took a series of high-res photos of my hometown on Mars," it said.
The first billion-pixel panorama of Mars was shared by the Curiosity Rover in 2013. At the time, photos of the planet's Rocknest area were released.