NASA has made the planet Mars closer than ever for the public. Its Curiosity rover has snapped the highest-resolution panorama captured till the date of the Martian surface. The Martian surface gallery is assembled by more than 1,000 images captured during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday. The premier space agency has assembled all the pictures over the last few months to make a composite that contains 1.8 billion pixels of the Martian landscape. The Curiosity rover has used its Mast Camera or MastCam for capturing the landscapes of the planet Mars. A group of telephoto lenses was used to produce the panorama while the rover relied on medium-angle lenses to produce lower-resolution pictures. The Mast camera with the medium-angle lenses produced a 650-million-pixel panorama of the Martian surface that also includes Curiosity’s deck and its robotic arm.
Both the panoramas captured with the telephoto lenses and medium-angle lenses mounted on the Mast camera reveals the region of the planet Curiosity rover is exploring. The region named "Glen Torridon" is situated on the side of Mount Sharp. The rover had taken these photographs while sitting idle and waiting for the team when NASA’s space mission was out for the Thanksgiving holiday between November 24 to December 1.
The rover took more than 6.5 hours spanned over four days to capture the individual shots of the Martian landscapes. The operators of the Mastcam had programmed the to-do list, which included pointing the rover’s mast and making sure the images were in focus. The rover had selected the time of capturing between 12 pm to 2 pm local Mars time every day to ensure photographs were clicked in uniform lighting across all the days.
Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ashwin Vasavada said that it is the first time that NASA has dedicated its operations to capture a 360-degree panorama. He also said that Curiosity produced one of the 'feast for the eyes' moments while the team was busy celebrating the holiday.