NASA recently released amazing 4K images from its Martian rovers featuring 1.8 billion pixels, which were used to build a video.
ElderFox Documentaries was named the creators of the video. They used photos snapped by three NASA rovers – Spirit, Curiosity and Opportunity.
Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California stated that; “While many on our team were at home enjoying turkey, Curiosity produced this feast for the eyes. This is the first time during the mission we’ve dedicated our operations to a stereo 360-degree panorama.”
The rover’s photography was programmed in advance, and was instructed to take the pictures between noon and 2 p.m.
NASA stated that the panoramas are zoomable.
The rover named Curiosity landed inside Mars’ 96-mile-wide (154 km) Gale Crater in August 2012. The mission to land the rover cost $2.5 billion and was set out to investigate the region’s past potential to host microbial life.
In September 2014, Curiosity arrived at the base of Mount Sharp, which rises from Gale’s center.
The Curiosity team released a 1.8-billion-pixel panorama featuring Glen Torridon. Glen Torridon is a region on the flanks of Mars’ 5.5 kilometres Mount Sharp.
However, there is no ‘live footage’ of the Red Planet from the NASA rovers, but NASA combined the thousands of images to create panoramas which is similar to that of a live video.
The video shows scenes of the Meridiani Planum showing tracks made by Opportunity, and also shows the amazing views of the desert like Cape Verde, Santa Maria Crater, the John Klein drill site for the Curiosity rover and Glen Torridon, as well as some black areas.
Spirit and Opportunity consist of ‘top of the range’ cameras since 2003, as well as the rover Curiosity which is from 2011.
ElderFox stated that “Curiosity can only send data directly back to earth at 32 kilo-bits per second. When the rover can connect to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we get more favourable speeds of 2 Megabytes per second.”
NASA confirmed that “The Mars 2020 mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.” They also added that “Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans.”