4-Billion-Pixel Panorama Lets You Explore Mars As If You Were Standing Next To Curiosity

Pan and zoom among 400 images from Curiosity's cameras.
Andrew Bodrov

If you were standing next to the Mars rover Curiosity, this is what you’d see. Estonian photographer and editor Andrew Bodrov stitched together 407 images from two Curiosity cameras to come up with this interactive panorama.

The mosaic covers 90,000 x 45,000 pixels, and includes zoomable images from Curiosity’s Narrow Angle Camera and Medium Angle Camera, both located on the Mastcam system, which makes up the rover’s head. The NAC’s focal length is 100 mm, and 295 images from this system make up the bulk of the image. The and MAC’s focal length is 34 mm, and Bodrov said he used those to fill in the gaps. If you look closely, you’ll see some spots that appear in lower resolution–those are from the MAC.

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The camera can only do so much, Bodrov notes. “It is only 2 megapixels, which by today’s standards is not huge. Of course, flying these electronic components from Earth to Mars, and having them survive the radiation and other hazards, means that they were not able to just use off-the-shelf cameras,” he said in an email to Popular Science.

This project took him about two weeks, including time to collect all the images, stitch them together and retouch them. Bodrov added the sky in Photoshop, and dropped in a photo of Curiosity, too, from a previous panorama he made earlier this year.

Bodrov is a member of the International Virtual Reality Photography Association and has plenty of other amazing panoramas, which you can check out here.