Sunday, April 7, 2013

Making Yourself at Home on Mars

One of the most interesting results of NASA's policy to make its planetary images widely and freely available is that talented photographers around the world have combined and extended the photos to make clearer or wider views of what it's like to be on another world.

A wonderful example can be found at a site for panoramic (360-degree) images, where photographer Andrew Bodrov has made one of the most exciting space images I have yet seen:,13.54,42.5

Bodrov stitched together 407 different images from two different cameras aboard the Curiosity rover on the red planet Mars. You can see the rover itself and the "Yellowknife Bay" neighborhood that it was exploring at the time that it did the first experiment drilling into a Mars rock. The large mountain in the distance is Mt. Sharp, the rover's ultimate destination.

I encourage you to play with the image for a while. There are controls at the upper left to help you move around and your cursor also gives you control of the speed and direction with which you move through this rich image. Enjoy the details of the rover's machinery and the wide range of rock formations around the little robot visitor.

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