Handout photo of color panorama shows a 360-degree view of the landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover, including the highest part of Mount Sharp on Mars (Photo : Reuters)
As the Curiosity Mars rover headed eastward towards a region called Glenelg on Thursday, its 2-megapixel MastCams captured images of Gale Crater and Mount Sharp. Danish Photographer Hans Nyberg has compiled the photographs into a panoramic 360-degree view, giving aspiring astronauts and NASA scientists alike an experience that simulates standing on the red planet.
Like Us on Facebook
Keep in mind that the panorama is color corrected to mimic Earth-like lighting and does not reflect the state of the original panorama. According to Wired Science, the enhanced lighting helps NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory more easily identify features on the surface of Mars that might have been obscured in the original photographs.
When the Curiosity arrives at Glenelg, it will use its suite of tools to collect data about craters in order to provide a window into the composition of Mars' subsurface. With this information, NASA hopes to further understand the planet's sedimentary history.
Curiosity Project Scientists John Grotzinger clarified that "we are on our way, though Glenelg is still many weeks away."
"We plan to stop for just a day at the location we just reached, but in the next week or so we will make a longer stop...we get it both coming and going," he added
The Curiosity originally began its journey to Mars on November 26, 2011 and landed on the planet on August 6th. The rover, essentially a mobile laboratory, sets out to discover whether or not Mars is habitable for microbial life.
Recently, NASA made history on Monday when they broadcast the first human voice recording to be sent from another planet. Additionally, the rover has already gathered more information from Mars than any of the earlier rovers combined.