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A Postcard from Mars: Salsberry Peak Panorama

Mosaic of Mastcam images acquired by Curiosity on Dec. 21, 2014

Mosaic of Mastcam images acquired by Curiosity on Dec. 21, 2014 (click for hi-res version)

Every now and then I get unexpectedly caught up in a project that I originally intended to be a quick just-for-fun thing and ends up taking an hour and a half of my time (usually long after I should have gone to bed.) This was one of those.

Made up of 28 raw images acquired by Curiosity’s right Mastcam camera, this is a panorama of the rover’s surroundings in Gale Crater on mission Sol 844 – December 21, 2014 our time. The colors are what one would see in ambient Mars lighting… for a more Earth-like view, see below:

Salsberry Peak panorama white-balanced for more Earthlike daytime lighting.

Salsberry Peak panorama white-balanced for more Earthlike daytime lighting.

The high rocky outcrop on the left is nicknamed Salsberry Peak after a mountain in California’s Death Valley. This was Curiosity’s destination after passing “Whale Rock,” a smaller outcrop that revealed layers indicating formation by rippling water action – likely before the crater’s central peak Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons) even existed. See Curiosity’s traverse map here.

The image above took a while to assemble in Photoshop and, although some of the stitching isn’t perfect, really shows off the stark, rugged beauty of the southwestern-style landscape in Gale Crater! It’s easy to forget we’re looking at a picture from another planet…

Learn more about Curiosity and the MSL mission findings here.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Jason Major.

UPDATE: Here’s another mosaic, a closer look at the top outcrops of Salsberry from images taken on Jan. 1 (Sol 855).

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on January 3, 2015, in Mars and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It really is hard to get our minds around the fact that the little vehicles are actually ON Mars. So cool. This panorama really brings it home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It kind of looks like like the terrain in Joshua Tree, California.

    Like

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