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A Mars mosaic from Curiosity using its close-up camera

During the three-plus months in the summer when Curiosity stayed at one location for its most recent drilling campaign, the science team used its ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager camera (RMI), originally designed to take very close-up photos, to create a 216 photo mosaic of the long distance horizon. They have now released that mosaic, which you can see as a video at the link. The mosaic itself is a very long strip, which is best viewed up close and scrolling across it, as the video does. As the scientists note,

During Curiosity’s first year on Mars, it was recognized that, thanks to its powerful optics, RMI could also go from a microscope to a telescope and play a significant role as a long-distance reconnaissance tool. It gives a typical circular “spyglass” black and white picture of a small region. So RMI complements other cameras quite nicely, thanks to its very long focal length. When stitched together, RMI mosaics reveal details of the landscape several kilometers from the rover, and provides pictures that are very complementary to orbital observations, giving a more human-like, ground-based perspective.

From July to October of 2020, Curiosity stayed parked at the same place to perform various rock sampling analyses. This rare opportunity of staying at the same location for a long time was used by the team to target very distant areas of interest, building an ever-growing RMI mosaic between September 9 and October 23 (sols 2878 and 2921) that eventually became 216 overlapping images. When stitched into a 46947×7260 pixel panorama, it covers over 50 degrees of azimuth along the horizon, from the bottom layers of “Mount Sharp” on the right to the edge of “Vera Rubin Ridge” on the left.

The camera’s resolution is so good that it was able in the mosaic to resolve large boulders on the crater wall of Gale Crater almost 37 miles away.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • Wow. Coolest thing I’ve seen this week. Fantastic stuff; almost like being on the surface yourself. A little depressing to think the whole planet looks more-or-less like this: no biology. Also noticed that the panorama was taken over about six weeks, and no evidence of weather. Geologically fascinating, but kind of boring. The more images I see of Mars from ground-level, the more it looks like a great place to visit, but maybe not live there.

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