Science Use Your Browser To Check Out Gale Crater, Curiosity's New Home On Mars

Published on August 8th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


Use Your Browser To Check Out Gale Crater, Curiosity’s New Home On Mars

Use Your Browser To Check Out Gale Crater, Curiosity's New Home On Mars

While Curiosity has been getting use to its new home on Mars there has been a bunch of other things going on as a result of this latest trip to the red planet.

With the help of THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System); a multiband visible and infrared camera onboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey, the Mars Space Flight Facility in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration have taken those images and created an incredible mosaic of Gale Crater.

The Gale Crater mosaic is woven together from 205 individual images with the vast majority of them being THEMIS visual wavelength images. The total size of the image is 325 MB which you can download by the way but it might take awhile so you have another option of being able to use your browser to zoom in, out and move around the crater with some pretty impressive detail.

Because all the mosaic’s images were taken before Curiosity landed, the rover is naturally not in the scene. In addition, although Curiosity is the largest payload ever sent to the Martian surface, the 10-foot-long rover is too small to be seen by THEMIS.

“The THEMIS images were taken throughout the whole mission,” says Jonathon Hill, the Mars researcher at ASU who assembled the mosaic. “A lot of them were taken recently, after we started specifically targeting Gale when it became one of the possible landing sites. But other images go back nearly to the beginning of the mission in 2002.”

In all, he says, it took about two and a half weeks to put it all together. “The thing that made it take so long was that when you blow the image up that big, or when you zoom in that much, any misalignment of the images becomes very obvious.” In the end, he had to align and custom fit most of the frames manually




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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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