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Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 2 (360cities.net)
185 points by Plnt on Aug 14, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 81 comments

Note that this is actually missing a very major feature of the landscape: Aeolis Mons, or mount Sharp. The NASA panorama that this was adapted from failed to image the upper 2/5ths of the environment (roughly), and therefore did not capture the 15,000-foot mountain that is looming above the rover.

The maker of this panorama cleverly edited the image to show a false horizon where the mountain would actually be. It looks good, but gives the misleading impression that the rover is surrounded by a band of low hills, when the truth is rather different.

Here's a picture of mount Sharp, taken from a different camera than did the panorama:


If you look at the foreground terrain, you'll see that it matches the WSW terrain of the OP. There should be a gobsmackingly big mountain there!

nkoren: you are very careful ;)

Thanks for the comment, but I really did not have source materials to recreate this mountain

Yeah, I know the material is missing. Sorry if that came off critical of you -- your panorama is really truly gorgeous! I'm honestly feeling a bit petulant towards NASA for failing to include the mountain in their initial panoramas[1] -- they've missed 80% of the drama in that landscape! When they finally get around to imaging the mountain properly, I hope you patch that back into your panorama, because that'll be stunning.

[1] And yes, I'm well aware that in the litany of First World Problems, "Whaaaa, NASA landed a giant rover on Mars but didn't take exactly the photo I wanted" has got to be pretty high on the list...

> in the litany of First World Problems...

This is what we might call a "Fourth-World Problem." :)

nkoren: no prob, you are welcome!

and thank you for comments!

I'm honestly feeling a bit petulant towards NASA for failing to include the mountain in their initial panoramas[1] -- they've missed 80% of the drama in that landscape!

It's very frustrating. It's as if NASA/JPL either don't know or don't care where their funding comes from, or how to get the stereotypical "man on the street" interested in what they're doing.

Hey, dumbasses: just before you launch something like this, put the best $1000 digital camera currently being manufactured on it. If the camera doesn't survive because it's not rated for use on Mars or whatever, fine. If it does, then that $1000 is going to pay for itself a million times over in firing up the public's imagination and garnering subsequent political support.

You know what? I'll bet James Cameron would help you out for free.

The cameras they have on Curiosity are just fine, considering the bandwidth that they've got available to them. The problem, in this case, is simply that they didn't point them at the most interesting thing in the area!

Problem is all the testing that is necessary to do to ensure that that $1000 camera works at all isn't possible to do before they launch.

Sorry, not buying it. That might be a good reason to fly a camera that's one year behind the commercial state of the art, but not 10 years as seems to be the usual practice.

This stuff matters, whether NASA likes it or not.

A high-res panorama of Mars, taken by a semi-autonomous robot that was landed via rocket sky crane, transmitted 14 light minutes across space, then transmitted on demand through a global information network to my computer.

And people say the future isn't what it was made out to be.

No one said that the future isn't amazing (or maybe they did), but the "future" imagined in the 1960s is mostly still science fiction.

Where is my flying car? Where is my robot personal assistant? Where is my food replicator? Where is my day trip to the moon? Where is my space colony on Mars?

Just sayin'. :P

It's a good point. I've thought about this before. I think the 1960s imagined future was predicated on basically infinite energy availability. That clearly hasn't happened, but what did happen most people in the 1960s didn't predict.

Makes you wonder what 50 years hence things will be like, given that the microtrends to which we pay so much attention will likely not continue.

And it you watch it in your iPad 2, you will be holding the viewport in your hands.

If I had looked at this on my laptop, I would have said, "Cool". On my iPad, though, I was transfixed, especially after removing browser chrome and maximizing the image. It felt lie FaceTime with Mars.

To the creator I say, "Well done!"

"We wanted flying cars, instead we've got 140 characters" -Peter Thiel

But 3D HD 4k streaming in real-time!

I love seeing these pictures showing all the dust and dirt sitting on top of the rover, knowing the years that it sat spotless in a cleanroom[1]. It's like unpacking a toy and actually getting to play with it.


True that. It's so visceral and so real that for a moment I worried about what would happen to all of those connectors and wires when it rained. Then, "oh. Mars. Right."

Aye, I must admit I looked around the landscape for a bit and then spent a good 5 minutes just looking at the rover. It is quite beautiful.

Works exceptionally well on an iPhone (appears to use accelerometer/gyroscope).

On GNex/Chrome the page just shows a flat low-res panorama and a "flash not supported" message.

Apparently 360Cities uses[1] krpano[2], a HTML5 panorama viewer on iOS devices. I tried a gyroscope example from the krpano page[3] on my GNex but it was rather buggy (jumpy and unreliable panning, only parts of the panorama visible at a time).

It seems that the fragmentation of Android devices/browsers has proven problematic for the 360cities developers. Since the krpano viewer might only work on a fraction of Android devices I can understand dropping the support for interactive viewing completely.

[1] https://groups.google.com/d/msg/360cities/188tbS9Pwj4/U8gF7O...

[2] http://krpano.com/

[3] http://krpano.com/examples/10815/examples/plugin-examples/gy...

EDIT: formatting

Wow. This was nice on a computer, but it's really, really impressive on an iPad. I suggest everyone to try it.

Fantastic on iPad in full screen. Very smooth.

This image reminds me of starting in the morning: sun's up, there's plenty to do, let's get started.

On another note, I would love to hear the sound of whatever Martian breeze is blowing while Curiosity's wheels crunch over the gravel.

There is hardly anything to hear since the atmosphere is so thin.

Looks like JPL was planning on making recordings with the Mars Polar Lander but we know how that turned out:


This is not true. There was a post in another topic that had a citation...there are a lot of sand storms on Mars and there is actually sound, it is just attenuated.

I assume the author did a very thorough job removing the pole on which this should be mounted? When you look straight down, there's no sign of anything... almost as if this is a levitating camera detached from anything.

What's with the recent surge of upvotes and naïve comments about ad plastered pages that just take content from NASA?

Here the picture is really small and the ads block a large percentage of it.

edit: That said, NASA doesn't do a very good job with photos itself either: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/gallery-ind...

edit2: Ah, nevermind, it was a flash problem! The content is certainly valuable!

These panoramas are "hand-made" from NASA's images, not just reposted content.

Yep, sorry, I see that now, had a browser problem originally...

Lovely nod to the conspiracy nuts by specifying this pic as being taken in New Mexico!

Isn't Mount Sharp ALREADY in the 360 panorama? I SEE IT. It just only looks "small". The mountain in the same direction in the shadow?

The mountain looks small mainly due to camera distortion (but it could also be incorrectly stretched image). But it's not a small mountain -- that's a big one. It is an optical effect caused by the panorama stretching. Zoom in the mountain, and it's exactly identical to the photograph by NASA.

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=4271 ... Look at the details; they match exactly the mountain that's already in the panorama. (the little-looking 'hill' in the direction rover of the shadow, and slightly to the right, is actually Mt Sharp)

Mount sharp just looks small in the panorama, due to optical effect. But zoom in using the mousewheel, and you'll see the surface features match Mount Sharp, even though it's a little smeared (low-resolution). Let's wait for higher-def transmissions, it's still a slow dial-up-style link over 500 million miles...

Why is there a black patch on the back of the rover?

I assume that this is where the connection between the camera and the rover is (a robot arm or the like), and which thus cannot be photographed.

I'm not sure which patch you're talking about. Maybe it's labelled in one of these images?


Scroll down, end of page.


Glitch in this pano, it's fine in this version: http://www.360pano.eu/show/?id=731

It does almost look like something was edited out. Not sure though.

It might be missing image data (not sent / not photographed yet).

Absolutely great stuff. I wonder if images were processed in any way (besides stitching) or is Martian landscape/atmosphere really so bright-yellowish.

I found it much easier to use navigation keys instead of click+drag (which web page suggests).

"I used color filter to make it more representable,” Bodrov wrote to TPM via email. “Color photos of Mars look different, but NASA still has not published enough source materials to assemble a complete panorama. I am just waiting for new photos." (http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/mars-curiosity-...)

If you point at the NASA logo on the rover you will see how big the color shift is. It's supposed to be blue but it's yellow and red. Whether it's the lighting on Mars, or the camera, or post-processing to blame for this - I have no idea, but the picture doesn't look like it reflects the reality from the human eye's perspective.

Here is the original panorama image http://goo.gl/8a41M I think this is original color.

The OP's interactive panorama is extremely cool, but I prefer the original you linked here. With the color shift and distortion, the interactive one feels dreamy and imaginary. The original is just so raw, real, and powerful. It makes me think "holy shit, this thing is on another planet, and it looks a lot like our own!" I can almost imagine standing next to the rover, surveying the desolate, alien landscape.

What an amazing time we live in!

What does N,S,E and W mean ?

North, South, East, and West?

and what's your definition of those on another planet that doesn't have a magnetic pole ? Is the "North" the "top" of the rotation - which way is the top ?? (here's a link that shows what a compass would do on the surface of Mars : http://mgs-mager.gsfc.nasa.gov/publications/grl_28_connerney... )

You know Earth's magnetic poles don't match up with its rotational poles right? They're kinda close, but the magnetic poles wander. Even though Mars (oddly) doesn't have strong magnetic poles, that doesn't mean it doesn't have poles. As for which one is north, we just pick a direction of the solar system to be "north". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poles_of_astronomical_bodies

I would guess that we now name the "north pole" on any planet that which your thumb points when doing the right hand rule with the rotation of the planet... but I'm not sure.

That's used for moons and dwarf planets etc. But in this solar system, we actually have a designated hemisphere that is "north" for planets. It's explained in that link I posted.

The orbital axis of all the planets in our solar system are roughly parallel (within 10 degrees, Mars is just under 2 degrees off ours), so it would be fair to pick a north pole at the same "end" as ours. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_inclination

Fun fact: Uranus is at 97+ degrees, making it almost perpendicular to the other planets axis


Hm, guess that means I don't understand the article I linked to.

The article you linked to describes the angle of plane of the orbit - the circle it makes around the sun. These vary by only a small amount.

The axial tilt is different. It is basically how far the axis through the poles of a planet is tilted compared to the plane of its orbit. This is what you were thinking of initially - it can very a lot.

Pluto, while no longer a planet, as an inclined orbital tilt as well. It will also occasionally come inside the orbit of Neptune.


I think you were confusing orbital inclination with axial tilt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

The rotational pole, I would imagine. Just as the geographic poles are sometimes referenced on Earth.

I find it incredibly ironic that an ad for Mitt Romney's campaign is splashed across the bottom with the words "Support a smaller government." I know it's just Google's ad service, but really now....

Sadly, it's looking like NASA in general and planetary science in particular will face cuts under either candidate.

Not the kind of budget cut that means "you get less of an increase than you'd planned", but "You get less money next year than you got this year" kind of cuts.

Well, since Flash seems to crash on me here (and on numerous other occassions) it's time to say that:

Can we please, pretty please with sugar on top, finally let Flash die? I've seen panoramic image viewers that didn't rely on Flash, they were brilliant. HTML5 video works a whole lot better than Flash, etc. In 2012, there's no need for the bug-ridden mess we call Flash anymore.

Details: Panoramic photo stitched together by Andrew Bodrov from images provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Maybe I'm just dull, but how is it possible to see the entire robot? Where is the camera mounted?

You can see where the camera is mounted by looking directly down — you can also see in the rover's shadow where the camera you're looking through is.

Any body see the little arcade-style joystick towards the back left of the rover?

That's actually the rover's color calibration target, not a joystick.


Thank you for pointing that out. That's actually more interesting than a seemingly useless joystick. :)

There is something hidden by a black square at the far end of the vehicle.

Nothing is 'hidden'— the image is a stitched panorama from many smaller images, and they didn't (yet?) transfer some of the images which only cover the rover, presumably because looking at the rover is scientifically uninteresting. The black areas are just the boundaries of the missing images.

It seems to just be a glitch in this copy of the pano. This other one is fine: http://www.360pano.eu/show/?id=731

wouldn't that black spot just be the mount that's holding the camera?

That's definitely the MMRTG or its nuclear battery. My guess would be the Department of Energy doesn't want too much about it floating around.

Though it's not like photos of the MMRTG don't exist (e.g., http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av028/111117mmrtg/)

There are already lots of pictures of it. Quite sure the DoE doesn't care at all.

What are the reasons for hiding it?

It's odd. I just looked at it again and now the square is gone. Maybe as suggested it was a rendering issue and it was just a coincidence that its was over the battery.

Only one complaint: looking around from within Firefox, my entire URI history is now full of 360cities.net pages with slightly different x, y, z values.

Other than that, not bad :D

Try right click, Little Planet View!

I wouldn't have expected the sun to look so big on Mars.

Coming soon from Google, Mars Maps!


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