Life on Mars: a 360° panorama from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover ‘Opportunity’

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

Here’s a conversion of a panoramic photo which NASA published a couple of days ago. In NASA’s own words “this full-circle scene combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It shows the terrain that surrounded the rover while it was stationary for four months of work during its most recent Martian winter.

As soon as I saw the full resolution image I wanted to turn it into an interactive panorama. However, rather than wade in and significantly change the content, I decided to honour the original image almost ‘as is’. It’s an awesome image in its own right, and the visible seams and fake colours add to the character of the view.

So apart from extending the image to cover a full 360° x 180° spherical view – painting in some sky and adding the NASA ‘meatball’ logo – and adding a little more contrast to the scene, there is no retouching or changes. Now you can get the feeling you’re standing on Mars, under orange skies, seeing a view no human has experienced first-hand.

You can read the full NASA article, and view the full resolution image here. Original image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Universities.

[Edit: since posting this I spotted NASA have published their own version, which is Java-based. You can view it here. I thought it was too cool for somebody not to have done it].

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