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Curiosity Transmits First 360-Degree Panorama From Mars

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the posted-with-instagram dept.

Communications 108

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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Lies (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40957961)

That's not a picture of Mars. I've been where this picture was taken... It's in southern Nevada. They're probably embarassed that the lens cap was left on, so they're showing us this instead. :)

Re:Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958447)

Right, even if they do have a probe on Mars and if they did come across something really exciting and interesting like say ruins or other artefacts, they would not show us that .. so why bother getting excited. Sure busting them in yet another big government lie is good, but personally I havent even bothered yet to look at the rocks they want to show us.

Re:Lies (3, Insightful)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958899)

Flamebait?!? Humour impaired modders, I say!

Re:Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959043)

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1299

I couldn't actually find the panaorama at the linked site, at least not by doing the obvious and clicking on the photo in the upper left corner. Anyway, that link goes to the source.

Re:Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959147)

That's because it really was/is Nevada!

Congrats, NASA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40957971)

You landed a 100 billion dollar rover on Mars. So, how's that supposed to help us poor people again? Well, congrats anyway.

Romney/Ryan 2012!!!!!

Re:Congrats, NASA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958469)

go give rush limbaugh a bj.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958679)

that would create more jobs than nasa/commie liberal government every has. ryan was a great choice for vp. this crap commie government can only be fixed by putting a randist in charge. nasa/welfare/social slush funds that are nothing more than personal unlimited checking accounts for barack HUSSEIIN obama. more money to the job creators not slush funds like nasa.

Romney/Ryan 2012!!!!!!!!

less liberal FRAUD; more jobs!!!

Re:Congrats, NASA! (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960219)

can only be fixed by putting a randist in charge.

Then it ain't gonna be fixed, because he's not a Randist any more. He bailed on her back in April when somebody in the Tea Party figured out how to work Google and found out she was an atheist.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (2)

NotSanguine (1917456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40961831)

that would create more jobs than nasa/commie liberal government every has. ryan was a great choice for vp. this crap commie government can only be fixed by putting a randist in charge. nasa/welfare/social slush funds that are nothing more than personal unlimited checking accounts for barack HUSSEIIN obama. more money to the job creators not slush funds like nasa.

Romney/Ryan 2012!!!!!!!!

less liberal FRAUD; more jobs!!!

You get paid to do this, don't you? Why don't you go back to turning tricks -- it's more honest work.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958541)

it doesn't help poor people, it creates skilled labor jobs.

also: this >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA#Public_perception

Re:Congrats, NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958599)

Sure, and as soon as the mission is over, they're unemployed.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959447)

This just in: any non-permanent job is not important. Since most business locations relocate or close, no jobs matter, and unemployment is approximately 100%.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40964035)

nonsense, where do poor people get what money they have?

answer, working for people with more money, or getting hand-out from peope with more money

Re:Congrats, NASA! (1)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959309)

At least the funds and effort for this project weren't used to kill anybody who disagreed with it.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (2)

aevan (903814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959809)

Skip the military comparisons. At least some science and improvements come from that area. Instead compare the costs of the superPACs and other assorted political spending.

Personally think there's more value in the 2.6Billion or so rover than the 4B+ spent baby-slinging and shit-kissing

Re:Congrats, NASA! (1)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | more than 2 years ago | (#40962667)

Personally think there's more value in the 2.6Billion or so rover than the 4B+ spent baby-slinging and shit-kissing

I'm in 100% agreement with you. If my comment came across unclear, I apologize.

Re:Congrats, NASA! (1)

aevan (903814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959775)

Now we know we can send them there safely. Reduces the poverty level on both planets. :)

Re:Congrats, NASA! (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960337)

You landed a 100 billion dollar rover on Mars. So, how's that supposed to help us poor people again? Well, congrats anyway.

Romney/Ryan 2012!!!!!

Hey sparky.. it was NOT a hundred billion dollars, it was 2.5 BIllion dollars, a significantly smaller amount of money. If you hadn't put a signature showing that you at LEAST had your head screwed on correctly about our next president, I'd figure you were just ANOTHER one of the multitudes of mindless O-Bots that infest ./ .. Please educate yourself on America's space program..

Re:Congrats, NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40961483)

Some things are more important to humanity than money, like knowledge and progress.

I suppose you'd rather sit around a straw hut reading fairy tales from your bible.

Color? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40957989)

I always wonder about these pictures, and I hate to sound like an idiot, but why don't they ever seem to take color photos on these things? Is there not enough light, and they have to use infrared?

Like I know that pictures of structures in space (e.g. nebulae) are colored in because they're being captured with radio telescopes rather than optical ones, but I'm imagining that these pictures are taken with a relatively normal digital camera. I know adding color would increase bandwidth, but I can't imagine that alone is the problem.

Re:Color? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958047)

Curiosity is a hipster, color photographs are too mainstream.

Re:Color? (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960475)

In 1976 Viking 2 rover sent detailed color photos [wikipedia.org] from Mars, in 2012 we are getting black&white low-res.

Re:Color? (1)

NetGyver (201322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960777)

not to nitpick, but the Viking missions were just landers. The first succssful lander+rover was the Mars Pathfinder which arrived on Mars in 1997.

Just sayin.

Re:Color? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Color? (5, Interesting)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960301)

It's because of how cameras work.
The CCD sensors that make up each pixel can't sense color, they only sense light intensity. Putting a filter in front of them lets one get light of a single color. In a consumer camera every CCD is filtered by a red, green, or blue filter. In a scientific camera the full resolution is desired, instead of 1/3 resolution, so they use swappable filters and take 3 images; one red, one green, and one blue. These are then composed into a single color image. They can also use different filters (IR, UV, etc) depending on what data they want to capture (and the sensitivity range of the CCD in the camera). When color data isn't needed, full-spectrum luminance info is desired, or just to save bandwidth, they take unfiltered pictures.

Re:Color? (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958101)

I know adding color would increase bandwidth, but I can't imagine that alone is the problem.

Actually, that alone is the problem. It's a 1mbit / 256kbit stream to a satellite in LEO that's only overhead for 18 minutes every day. I guess it's something about the transmitter being a few billion miles away that makes it hard, or something...

Re:Color? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958187)

...It's a 1mbit / 256kbit stream...

DSL? I told them they should have gone with a cable modem.... Oh, well. I guess we should be thankful that it isn't 6.0/128k.

Re:Color? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958231)

Still, It seems like it's be worth it to get at least a *couple* of color images. I can understand that B&W images are smaller and transmit more quickly, but it doesn't seem like an insurmountable problem.

Re:Color? (5, Informative)

nissin (706707) | more than 2 years ago | (#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? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958517)

Cool, thank you.

Re:Color? (2)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958267)

The minimum distance to Mars is ~55 million km and the maximum distance to Mars is ~400 million km.

Re:Color? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958789)

Hey, G. in T., I always like your posts, you so smart! r u cute, 2??

Re:Color? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958879)

Once his training bears fruit he should be a resembling a cute she :)

Re:Color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959031)

Once his training bears fruit he should be a resembling a cute she :)

Are you saying.... O.M.G.!!.... That would mean that I've been fantazing for so long about a.... a....No-ooo-o!!!.....

Re:Color? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959387)

Shouldn't that be LMO instead of LEO?

Re:Color? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958693)

Thank you for this comment!

Re:Color? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Color of the Martian sky (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958217)

+1 for color photos. This at least would help settle the question of the color of the sky over Mars. Most depictions including sci-fi movies I've seen of the Martian sky show it red rather than blue, which is the sort of sky one would expect to see from a sun-like star. The red is supposed to be caused by pollution like rusty dust storms or during sunrise/sunset.

Re:Color of the Martian sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959163)

http://www.fotoausflug.de/en-mars.html

Re:Color? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958419)

This would usually be the case, however the Curiosity does, in fact, carry several true color-capable cameras.

Re:Color? (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958283)

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? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958311)

I always wonder about these pictures, and I hate to sound like an idiot, but why don't they ever seem to take color photos on these things? Is there not enough light, and they have to use infrared?

Like I know that pictures of structures in space (e.g. nebulae) are colored in because they're being captured with radio telescopes rather than optical ones, but I'm imagining that these pictures are taken with a relatively normal digital camera. I know adding color would increase bandwidth, but I can't imagine that alone is the problem.

Try out this link... http://hubblesite.org/gallery/behind_the_pictures/meaning_of_color/index.php [hubblesite.org]

Re:Color? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958353)

They do have some color pictures already, just not a full panorama in color. See here [arstechnica.com] . The Curiosity, unlike much space exploration stuff, actually has true-color cameras not just composite imaging or false-color cameras. The result looks... well, exactly like Nevada desert.

Re:Color? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960217)

Excuse me? At the end of the page you linked to, there is in fact a color panorama.

Re:Color? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40961359)

Low resolution thumbnail picture composite only, not full resolution, and they omitted the parts that show most of Curiosity itself (so not really full, as I would define it). For some reason I also thought it wasn't a 360-degree one, but on closer examination it looks like it is, and now that I look at the one linked in TFA, it also omits several parts of the image. There is a full color high-res image here [nasa.gov] (direct link [warning: the image is very large, over 11MB]: here [nasa.gov] ), although it too has frames missing.

Re:Color? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958493)

I always wonder about these pictures, and I hate to sound like an idiot, but why don't they ever seem to take color photos on these things?

Simple: Because they're designed for doing science, not taking holiday snapshots. Black/white cameras can have filters put in front of them, this way they can analyze different parts of the spectrum. They can even take color pictures by combining three exposures made with RGB filters.

Re:Color? (2)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958995)

I always wonder about these pictures, and I hate to sound like an idiot, but why don't they ever seem to take color photos on these things? Is there not enough light, and they have to use infrared?

They are still transmitting on the Low Gain/Low Speed antenna, plus they are still running the Flight software and have not replaced it with the software that's intended for Surface operations. As soon as the High Gain/High Speed antenna is deployed and the software for surface operations is loaded, they have a few color panoramas and a high resolution Landing Movie they will be sending down. After all that happens, the rover activities on Mars will increase as well as the amount of science that will be beamed back.

And a note about the cameras. The cameras that can take color pictures are not like your home snapshot camera. They have a color wheel behind the lens with 15 or more colors in it. to take a color picture the camera snaps 3 or 4 different pictures using different filters that make up the colors of visible light, then the 3 or 4 pics are sent to earth and combined to make the final shot. this requires more bandwidth that is not available till the high gain antenna is used.

Re:Color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959071)

1. Grey is 1/3 the size of RGB colour. Most MSL operations are limited by bandwidth, so a 1/3 saving in storage and transmission is worth a lot;
2. Colour on Mars isn't terribly variable (dominated by orange - duh :-)), so a lot can be discerned from greyscale without needing colour, once you understand what's "normal" (i.e. calibrate it with a few colour pictures);
3. In most cases the CCD for astronomical observations is set up as a monochromatic one for maximum sensitivity, then you rotate filters in front of it to do each of the colour bands, if colour is what you want (or infrared);
4. MSL is unusual compared to previous missions because it does have a Bayer filter [wikipedia.org] in front of the CCDs of a number of the cameras, so you get colour automatically (e.g., the Mastcams [nasa.gov] and the hand-lens imager [nasa.gov] ). You'll still get highest-resolution results by shooting 3 separate exposures of grey, but it's hard to beat the convenience, so that's what they did this time;
5. Some of the cameras on MSL are greyscale because you just don't need colour for what they are supposed to do (e.g., the hazard cameras and I think the navigation cameras). They aren't primarily for taking pretty pictures, but for driving.

They got the greyscale pictures down first because those were faster to transmit with the limited bandwidth. Even the colour ones are only the thumbnails at this point, and the full resolution probably won't be down for a week or so. When they ramp up the communications speed the colour will probably be more common, but it's still going to be the case of "we already took a picture of that scene in colour a while ago, so we only need grey this time".

A reporter asked a similar question to what you did in one of the news conferences. Mike Malin (the principal investigator for most of the cameras) actually had a pretty good explanation of why they do things mostly in grey, but acknowledged at the same time that colour was easier for people to understand, so they're doing those too.

The first colour panorama is here [nasa.gov] .

Re:Color? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959921)

"I'm imagining that these pictures are taken with a relatively normal digital camera."

And that's where you went wrong. Digital camera sensors measure luminance only. If you want a colour image, you put a colour filter in front of the sensor. The sensor in your camera probably has a Bayer filter in it, which is a pattern of red, green and blue filters. Using a Bayer filter lets you capture a colour image with one snap, but also means you get a bit less resolution and the chance of some artifacts.

These shots are likely from Curiosity's navigation cameras, which are designed to survey its surroundings. Colour isn't as important as resolution and the absence of artifacts.

Curiosity DOES carry colour cameras, just like the other rovers, but those cameras don't have fixed Bayer filters like yours does. Instead, there's a rotating wheel of filters in front of them so different ones can be used. Using red, blue and green filters you can create a colour image, but you can also put an IR or UV filter in and get images in those bands.

MMRTG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958001)

You can't really see the MMRTG in this photo, for those interested: http://imgur.com/XE244 [imgur.com]

Here's a much better panoramic link (color) (2, Informative)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958027)

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] .

Re:Here's a much better panoramic link (color) (5, Informative)

nissin (706707) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Here's a much better panoramic link (color) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958209)

Every widely used video encoding (and jpeg) uses half-resolution color planes. That means it is only +50% larger to send color pictures, not +200% as many people would think.

Re:Here's a much better panoramic link (color) (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959993)

It takes a lot longer to acquire and transmit a panorama from narrow field of view colour cameras than it does from wide angle navigation cams though.

Re:Here's a much better panoramic link (color) (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958467)

Ah my apologies, I thought it was curiosity.

Re:Here's a much better panoramic link (color) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958887)

You're not the first to share out those thinking they were from Curiosity. Pro tip: If it has solar panels, it's Spirit or Opportunity. If it doesn't, it's Curiosity, which is powered by an internal nuke battery instead.

Re:Curiosity's power source... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959157)

About that battery: . Now that Curiosity is safe on Martian soil, the largest and most advanced machine NASA ever sent to another planet needs power to get its 2,000-pound frame moving. To get it going, the rover will be powered by an advanced nuclear power system, called the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, developed by Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne engineers in Canoga Park. The generator is crucial to the $2.5-billion Mars mission, which centered around Curiosity trekking through the Gale Crater toward a central mountain. The rover also needs power for its many instruments aimed at finding out whether Mars is --or ever has been --hospitable to life. Its main mission is slated to last 23 months, or one Martian year. PHOTOS: History of Mars exploration Larry Trager, general manager at Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne, said the generator could power the rover for years to come. “The power source is capable for 14 years even though the mission isn't set to go that long,” he said. “It’s very robust.” Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne engineers developed the generator in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The company said the generator was designed to operate in a range of different environments, from the vacuum of deep space to extreme planetary surface environments. So how does it work? It works by converting heat from the natural decay of radioisotope materials into electricity. The Energy Department and NASA said the system consists of two major elements: a heat source that contains plutonium-238 dioxide and a set of solid-state thermocouples that convert the plutonium’s heat energy to electricity. (Plutonium-238 is not weapons-grade material.) While the process sounds new-fangled, conversion of heat directly into electricity is not a new principle. It was discovered 150 years ago by a German scientist named Thomas Johann Seebec http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-mars-landing-power-source-20120805,0,622034.story [latimes.com]

nasa.gov (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958033)

Re:nasa.gov (2)

Alarash (746254) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958309)

CIA already redacted some things. I can tell from all the black tiles.

Re:nasa.gov (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958731)

uh, no. that's your shitty liberal government at work. 100 billion dollars (with a B) and the camera doesn't work right. waste more money on that socialist shithole that is nasa, libtardz. faced with the obvious waste of TAXPAYER money stolen from the people there is only one question to be asked:

what would John Galt do?

Romney/Ryan 2012!!!!!!

money to job creators not to lazy welfare fraudsters.

Re:nasa.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959485)

CIA already redacted some things. I can tell from all the black tiles.

They don't want people to panic. Those out having sex under the stars are being exposed to alien spores during the meteor shower and may find themselves giving birth to Republicans.

Just wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958107)

Why don't they have a broadcast station to send video back like OTA TV? Does it need to be encrypted, do they want to release only what they want to release, is that kind of set up too large/power hungry? I'm just wondering why it has to be sent back as data I guess.

Re:Just wondering (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958587)

The bandwidth is slow (lower bit rates are more reliable), and both Mars and Earth are rotating. Constant broadcast of microwave signal takes a lot of juice, and you don't have a dedicated satellite for the rover in Mars orbit. Your puny encryption technology would be laughable at best, a waste of effort. You can barely ensure the signal is intact, any possible hindrance would be a catastrophe -- Oops, a cosmic ray changed the encryption code, now your drone is useless! Ha! You can see all the images in their raw archive.

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/ [nasa.gov]

I prefer to stitch superior panoramas via placing the individual frames in 3D space in relation to my point of view... I find it odd that all Humans don't have such basic visualization tools. What's wrong? Three dimensions too much for your puny minds to grasp and manipulate?

You may have such capability eventually on Mars soon enough, but for now these are still relatively small baby steps. At this rate you're acceptance into the Galactic Concillium will take longer than your star system's life span! You've got the perfect setup: A lush well protected world with a huge easy to reach moon; Mars, a planet perfect for testing your ability to overcome lack of magnetic shielding -- You even got A BROWN DWARF (to better teach the lessons of gravitation), and its surrounded with A MOON FULL OF METHANE FUEL?! If you don't succeed, you'll have no one but yourselves to blame. To any other race this would all be too enticing to ignore, yet you obsess over Reality TV?!?! Are your own lives so pathetic you need to watch someone else's? It's telling indeed that the Mars One project can only be funded by harnessing your love for "Reality TV"... The problem is that humans will allocate 15 billion to the Reality TV Event "World's Best Exercisers" every four years, but only 2.5b on technology that paves the way for the assured survival of your kind.

Of course you'll have OTA TV broadcast from Mars eventually -- Your damn race is addicted to it!

You have the perfect setup to survive the evolutionary dead end and leap for the stars, it's a shame you choose to keep all of your eggs in one basket, Earth. To quote one of your black comedies: "Get your ass to Mars!"

Hell of an achievement! (1, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958119)

A modern smartphone has more powerful processors than the computers on curiosity, more hard drive space too. 1. We spent 804 billion dollars in Iraq and didn't even get a "thank you card"..or a drop of oil 2. We spent 90 billion dollars on reconstruction in Afghanistan to "win hearts and minds"...and they hate us 3. We spent 2.5 billion dollars sending CURIOSITY to MARS, a technological feat that set space exploration ahead 50 years, sent a message to the world that the US is still the leader in technology.... and will provide us with a wealth of scientific data for years to come. PLUS not a single life was lost, no buildings were destroyed, and no refugees had to flee their homes. It's time the US started spending MORE money building a positive image, making new discoveries , and advancing human achievement ........and spend LESS money trying to become the policeman of the world.

Re:Hell of an achievement! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958279)

" We spent 2.5 billion dollars sending CURIOSITY to MARS, a technological feat that set space exploration ahead 50 years"

Could you please elaborate on that astonishing claim? We sent Viking on Mars almost 40 years ago, all that's changed now is better electronics.

" and will provide us with a wealth of scientific data for years to come"

Another bold claim. Are we going to find new elements? New fundamental forces? We're getting pictures of rocks along with their composition. How is that a "wealth" of scientific information? You'll find more complexity and questions inside a cell.

Re:Hell of an achievement! (0)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958561)

" We spent 2.5 billion dollars sending CURIOSITY to MARS, a technological feat that set space exploration ahead 50 years"

Could you please elaborate on that astonishing claim? We sent Viking on Mars almost 40 years ago, all that's changed now is better electronics.

Curiosity is a rolling lab that will be performing meaningful tests for years. It hasn't finished even setting itself up yet, jeez, are you impatient! Eventually it'll be moving up the walls of the crater which have been already dug out, making it easier to view the history of how Mars was formed. " and will provide us with a wealth of scientific data for years to come"

Another bold claim. Are we going to find new elements? New fundamental forces? We're getting pictures of rocks along with their composition. How is that a "wealth" of scientific information? You'll find more complexity and questions inside a cell.

Who knows what will be learned, that is exactly what's so exciting! We don't know right now, but we will soon! It's a fantastic thing thats happening, for the first time in human history, we are doing things on another planet! We are preparing for eventually walking, living and working on Mars, very possibly in our lifetime! If that doesn't get your juices flowing, then you have my sympathy.

Re:Hell of an achievement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958633)

"Who knows what will be learned"

Yet you knew enough to make bold claims?

So basically, you have this faith that we'll find something more than geological data.

"for the first time in human history, we are doing things on another planet! "

Oh my God. Figures that someone with the mentality of a child has the vision of a child.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venera [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_program [wikipedia.org]

And never mind the fact that you're ignoring the first rovers too. Are you stupid or just giddy like a schoolgirl over pictures of rocks??

Re:Hell of an achievement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958673)

Oh crap and I forgot this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunokhod [wikipedia.org]

Re:Hell of an achievement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958811)

Let me guess. You don't get invited to a lot of parties, do you?

Re:Hell of an achievement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40960331)

I *am* the party.

Re:Hell of an achievement! (1)

MechaStreisand (585905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40961119)

. . . for the first time in human history, we are doing things on another planet!

No, not for the first time! The Viking program, Pathfinder, Opportunity and Spirit rovers, and others that I'm not mentioning. Are you 12 years old?

Amen brother (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958643)

Billions for soil science!

Re:Hell of an achievement! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40964067)

hey dumb-ass,

viking sat in one place, it did not rove. as for cells, suppose we discover Mars had them at one time, or has them now?

Re:Hell of an achievement! (0)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958431)

Creating a better life for 67 million people, not to mention a a safer world for the rest of us, was actually more important than taking pictures of dirt on Mars.

Re:Hell of an achievement! (2)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958593)

We spent 804 billion dollars in Iraq and didn't even get a "thank you card"

True, but we did receive some nice complimentary footwear [youtube.com] .

Re:Hell of an achievement! (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958699)

We spent 804 billion dollars in Iraq and didn't even get a "thank you card"

True, but we did receive some nice complimentary footwear [youtube.com] .

Aww, if the thrower of that footwear had just adjusted for windage....

no 360 panorama at the link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958165)

The link doesn't point to a 360 degree panorama. Just a pile of text with adverts around it and a little boxout. Please try to post correct links in future.

Re:no 360 panorama at the link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958257)

This is the correct link: http://www.photojpl.com/curiosity-landing-site-on-mars-first-hd-panorama-of-gale-crater/-/s4fkBPaSqJ/

Wait.. (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958179)

when did Yahoo News rename itself to ibtimes.com

I than4 you for your time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958229)

pro-ho8os3xual [goat.cx]

International Business Times... (1)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958485)

...is where I go to get the latest space news. Just kidding. I go to the Bad Astronomer, who posted a color 360 panorama two days ago: http://mblogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/08/09/first-color-360-degree-panorama-from-curiosity/ [discovermagazine.com] C'mon Slashot, you can do better than this.

K Nim CHng giá r (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958539)

www.rido.vn

What a giant waste of money. (0)

glrotate (300695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958595)

$2,000,000,000.00 to find out whether Mars' soil is 37.2% carbon or 37.3%.

Would someone please turn off NASA?

Okay (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40958803)

Looks like an uninhabited pile of rock and sand to me. Now could we move on and build a huge space station with artificial gravity? Quickly please, because we're going to need it.

Look at the footprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40958859)

It looks like there is a single footprint on the ground, just to the right of the shadow.

Layers in rock (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959089)

Looking at the hill beyond the shadow, and slighty to the right, that hill seems to have layers to it. I'm not a geologist, so keeping in mind that I'm quite clueless...

I assume that different layers are caused by different climates, and given the lifeless rock that Mars is, that would mean different levels of humidity, probably caused by different temperatures. If so, can we work out how long ago those periods were? Could those periods be matched with what we have on Earth, such as ice ages? Or are my questions completely off the the planet?

Re:Layers in rock (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959323)

From what I've heard from NASA's scientists, Curiosity landed in such a perfect place, that many questions about Mars could be learned from just right where she sits, that liquid may have once flowed right where the rover is now. Pretty cool.

Read all about it: Mars is still a rocky wasteland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40959175)

Mars looks exactly the same from Curiosity as it does from all the other spacecraft that have visited. Wait for something interesting before publishing any further stories about this please.

I see the torch from the Statue of Liberty! (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40959735)

Seriously, can someone point out the skeleton of some dead Martian creature in the background so we can get past this "Is there life on Mars?" question?

How about an actual photo? (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40960081)

How about an actual photo instead of some Flash movie?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40960579)

WORST. PANORAMA. EVER.

Heck of a doozy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40960705)

Thats all.

MastCam Partial Panorama Available (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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

NASA: Yer doin it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40962791)

Okay, we all know that there is water on Mars. Yet they land this fuckin' thing in the middle of the desert.

If you want to know if there's life there, go where the water is.

Why aren't they sending these probes to the most likely place for life to be?

It's like if an alien race were to land probes in the middle of the Sahara, instead of Costa Rica. I mean, fuckin' DUH! Who are the dumbshit retards in charge of deciding where on Mars they land these things?

Gravel on top (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40963019)

It's interesting how much gravel got kicked onto the top of Curiosity by the landing sequence. I know they used the sky crane to keep it from getting totally buried, but I hope they were counting on how much/the size of what they got.
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