Last week I wrote a post about NASA’s successful landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. Following touchdown, the robotic explorer first had to undergo a series of system checks to make sure everything was fully operational. After that an updated software package was sent to Curiosity that should improve performance over the course of its two-year life mission, which is to search for signs of the building blocks of life on the red planet.
That mission really hasn’t even started yet, as Curiosity is still in the final stages of it’s systems check. But the rover has started to send back some high resolution images from Mars and they are spectacular. NASA has stitched a number of those images together to create a 360º panorama around Curiosity. That image has been posted online and can be viewed by clicking here.
Once the high resolution images load up you can use your mouse to rotate in all direction, giving you a fantastic view of the surface of Mars in all directions. I was surprised at how clear the photos were and impressed with what Curiosity has captured already. The landscape is eerily similar to some that we would find on our planet and the same sun, albeit a bit smaller in size, shines overhead. To truly get the full effect, I recommend putting the panorama in full screen mode.