A snippet of the Mars panorama photo. To view the entire photo, click here.
NASA released a stunning panoramic photograph of the Red Planet on Thursday, but over the weekend the photos have since created a stir online. Calling it the "next best thing to being there," NASA said in news release that the photos combined a full-circle scene combining 817 images, taken by a "Pancam" on the Mars rover Opportunity. The photograph shows a rugged and seemingly endless landscape, as hills and the tire tracks from the rover are all visible. The photo was released to celebrate Opportunity's 3,000 Martian day on July 2, as well as NASA's 15 years of "robotic presence at Mars." The photo is show in false color to showcase the differences between the different material in the photo.
The 817 photos were taken over a six month period, starting on Dec. 21, 2011 and ending on May 8, 2012. In a statement in the news release, Jim Bell of Arizona State University, Tempe, Pancam lead scientist, said, "The view provides rich geologic context for the detailed chemical and mineral work that the team did at Greeley Haven over the rover's fifth Martian winter, as well as a spectacularly detailed view of the largest impact crater that we've driven to yet with either rover over the course of the mission."
Opportunity has a Twitter account, shared with another Mars rover, Spirit. The duo tweeted an awesome interactive version of the photograph on Friday:
Mouse Around Mars: Oppy's winter view presented as an interactive panorama nasatech.net/GreeleyPan/— Spirit and Oppy(@MarsRovers) July 7, 2012
To view and download the full-resolution photograph, click here.